§ Mr. Speaker
Before I call the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short) to move the Motion which stands in his name and the names of several of his hon. and right hon. Friends, I wish to inform the House that I have selected the Amendment which stands in the names of the Prime Minister and a number of his hon. and right hon. Friends.
I wish also to take this opportunity to inform the House that a great many hon. Members have informed me of their wish to take part in the debate. I hope that all hon. Members—including, if I may say so with respect, speakers from the two Front Benches—will have regard to this fact.
§ 3.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Edward Short (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central)
I beg to move,That this House, believing that the education and youth policies of Her Majesty's Government will lead to greater inequality of opportunity between individual children, social classes, sectors of the education system and regions, calls upon Her Majesty's Government to adopt policies which will ensure that all children and young people have full and equal opportunity to develop their potential both for their own good and that of the nation.The purpose of this debate is to show that Tory philosophy, with its hard values, is being applied to this major social service, the education service, just as it is being applied to the economy.
In the debate on the Budget my right hon. Friend the Leader of the Opposition said:It is the Budget of people who have learned nothing and forgotten nothing."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 30th March, 1971; Vol. 814, c. 1409.]It is a Budget which has made rich people richer and poor people poorer. The effect of the policy of the right hon. Lady the Secretary of State for Education and Science is very much the same in regard to education, for it will improve education for those who are already well catered 1189 for but will worsen it for those who are neglected and retarded by the system at present.
The inequalities in our education system are many—between child and child, school and school, L.E.A. and L.E.A., region and region and between the independent and State system—and the right hon. Lady's policy will make them bigger.
I read everything the right hon. Lady says. She kindly sends me her voluminous Press handouts and I sympathise with her in having to make so many speeches. The Secretary of State for Education and Science has to make far too many speeches, and I thought it rather unkind when The Times Educational Supplement wrote this week:Mrs. Thatcher cannot be called a slow learner in the art of saying nothing gracefully.But, then, The Times Educational Supplement is a very unkind journal.
However, from all she has said—and she has said a great deal—and from the administrative decisions she has made, it is obvious that slowly but surely she is injecting those hard Tory values of hers into an area of Government in which the ethics of the City of London are even more harmful than they are in the economy, for we are discussing a sector of government which needs compassion and understanding. I will show that instead of trying to diminish a major defect in our education system, the right hon. Lady is adding to it. This major defect is the fact that the system is undemocratic, and I will address my remarks to this point first.
We have an undemocratic system because we have an undemocratic society. The traditional purpose of our education system from primitive times has been to conserve and transmit the values, beliefs, taboos, knowledge and so on of society to the next generation. The renaissance idea of the worth of the individual has not yet percolated down to Conservative thinking on education. After all, the fall of Constantinople occurred only about 500 years ago. We have a society which reflects the education system. An undemocratic society needs an undemocratic education system to preserve it. An elitist, class-ridden society needs an elitist, class-ridden education system.
1190 The starting point, the basic premise, of democracy is that in theory every member of society is of equal importance and is equally entitled to dignity and esteem. In Britain we apply this to voting, but to little else. According to our voting system, the corporation dustman counts exactly as much as the chairman of Lloyds Bank, whoever he may be.
But democracy is only vote deep. In two great areas, industry and social structure, there is no democracy whatever. Both are based on the assumption that one can divide the whole of mankind into a superior minority, who can make the decisions and possess most of the privilege, and a large inferior majority, who will do what they are told. The criterion for deciding where the dividing line between the two comes is unrelated to merit.
This assumption in society is maintained and is maintainable only because there is a similar assumption built into the centre of our education system. It is that there is a superior minority of children who require quality education and a large inferior majority who require good, sound, popular education.
We now know beyond doubt that, as in society, the criterion for deciding where the dividing line between the two comes has no connection whatever with merit, though we still pretend it has except in that super, super minority of 7 per cent. of our children who go into the parallel independent sector, where the criterion is the wealth of their parents and there we cannot even pretend that the dividing line is based on merit.
The superiority-inferiority assumption in our education system is the rationale for the 11-plus or 12-plus. It is the rationale for streaming by ability and for a great deal of the spurious and, I believe, harmful motivation our schools think up to get results. One cannot avoid the conclusion that it is also the rationale for our tripartite system of education.
The criterion pretends to be related to merit because, we are told, measured ability can be equated with merit. But the whole concept of measured ability—measured intellectual ability itself, and we have discussed this in the House before, is based on an untenable theory of intelligence. I make no apology for 1191 repeating this because it is central to what needs putting right in our education system. We know beyond doubt that there is a significant element in measured ability which is not inherited but which is environmental, so that a child's measured ability grows or diminishes.
We also know beyond doubt that the inherited, genetic part of a child's ability cannot be separately quantified. Then we know, because of these two factors, that a child's measured ability is a quite unreliable predictor of his ability to grow and develop in future. Above all, we now know a great deal more about the relationship between social class and measured ability, and it is this which is the theme of my speech today.
In Britain we have the advantage of a unique study of almost every child born in a certain week in March, 1946. Almost every parent concerned co-operated and their children have been followed through the whole of their education. The parents have been interviewed in almost every case and many teachers have also been interviewed. The survey has already published five reports, but two are of special interest today, both by Dr. J. W. B. Douglas. The first is entitled "The Home and the School" and the second "All Our Future". Both are in the Library.
The survey found that when a primary school child's so-called ability was assessed such environmental factors as the following came into the picture; the school, the type of accommodation occupied by the child and its parents, the unemployment record of the father, the interest of the parents and their vocabulary, the position of the child in the family, whether the child shared a bed—many hundreds of thousands of children in Britain still do—and the number of books and toys in the home. The Plowden Committee found that more than 20 per cent. of British homes possessed five or fewer books.
These two reports revealed a most deplorable major disadvantage suffered by working-class children in this country on which not nearly sufficient public attention has been focused. For example, the children of manual workers showed a marked decline between the ages of 8 and 11 in measured ability, and between those ages they lost 2.27 points while the children of upper middle-class 1192 parents gained 1.52 points. Hon. Metnbers wishing to study these figures will find them on page 47 of "The Home and the School". Therefore, by the age of 11 the child of the manual worker has fallen behind the child of middle-class parents of equal ability at the age of 8. The consequence is seen in the number of children who go to the grammar school—54 per cent. of upper middle-class children and 11 per cent. of lower middle-class children.
Class differences are even more marked in the secondary schools. If we consider children who stay on after 15 to take certificates, in the most able group, 97 per cent. from the middle class stay on and only 86 per cent. from the lower middle class. Among the least able, 40 per cent. of the upper middle-class children stay on and only 3 per cent. of manual workers' children.
This shows a colossal failure to develop a vast reservoir of native ability. In the economic field, a similar failure would be regarded as a national disgrace. Dr. Douglas said in his book:Middle class pupils have retained almost intact their historical advantage over the manual working class.The evidence of this is coming to light almost every day. For example, in the recent Fulton Report on the Civil Service, a survey carried out at Oxford by Dr. Halsey found that the educational and social base of the Administrative class of the Civil Service had not changed at all in 25 years.
It is made all the worse because in the independent sector—where 7 per cent. of our children go, selected on the length of their parents' pockets, not even on the pretence of ability, we are cosseting mediocrity by applying to it a quite disproportionate share of national educational resources, especially teachers. In that sector, we are dressing the geese to look like swans, while in the public sector by neglect, we are allowing many swans to change into geese.
Areas like the North-East, where, on the figures announced yesterday, we have more than double the national level of unemployment—it has 7.6 per cent. male unemployment—and where there is a preponderance of manual workers, are deprived areas educationally because of this unjust assumption built into our 1193 educational system. My hon. Friend the Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Armstrong) raised this matter in an adjournment debate on 9th February.
Another and very neglected aspect of deprivation affecting the performance of children at school is the fact that between 5 and 15 per cent., depending on the area, are in acute distress. By acute distress I mean children who are wretchedly unhappy at school. That is the definition of Sir Alec Clegg, the Director of Education for the West Riding, in his book "Children In Distress". The children are wretchedly unhappy because of some social or economic factor in their background. These are children who do not reach the threshhold at which the law can intervene to put them into care or help them in some other way. They remain throughout their schooling, unless they get a great deal of attention, acutely distressed.
One of the causes is broken homes. In 1969, 60,000 petitions for divorce were filed, and 50,000 decrees were made absolute. So there were 50,000 new broken homes in one year alone, and many of those homes have young children. All too often, the court gives custody of the children to the wrong parent.
The second cause is poverty—but not poverty as such. One cannot equate poverty with neglect; it is poverty which is due to irresponsibility and fecklessness. Other causes are mental illness in the home, cruelty, work-shy fathers, and quarrelling between parents. The causes are not always overt: they may be secret and insidious, almost undetectable.
Children in distress are not a separate and recognised category of children in need of special education, but almost invariably their distress depresses their school performance. It is very difficult to evoke much sympathy for them. The public tends to write them off as bad boys or girls, because distress almost always reflects itself in so-called bad behaviour. Compared with the blind or the deaf, where the cause is not due to society, who evoke a great deal of sympathy, and rightly so, these unfortunate children, the cause of whose distress is due to society, evoke very little. In fact, they are often blamed for their own condition.
1194 But this problem needs attention and research, especially into its incidence. It needs teachers who are specially trained in social work. So far as I know, only one college of education, Edge Hill in Liverpool, does this kind of training at the moment. It needs better buildings, better facilities in run-down, down-town areas, where this kind of distress has its greatest incidence.
As recently as 4th April, in the Observer, which is still in the Library, there was an article headed "Workers' Children Lose On IQs". This was the report of a speech made at Exeter University by Dr. C. B. Hindley of London University Institute of Education. He was reporting on an 18-year survey in the institute on social and economic factors affecting children's school performance, which showed that those factors show in measured intelligence at the age of three for boys and the age of one and a half for girls. Imagine that—children educationally deprived, disadvantaged, almost from babyhood.
The policy of this Government will perpetuate this state of affairs. Of course the right hon. Lady does not wish it, but the logic of her philosophy and that of her party will add to this problem. In a speech at Scarborough last week she showed a commendable concern for the slow learners, but her concern will be ineffective because her philosophy and her policy are creating slow learners, who are almost always a product of an elitist system of education.
The Times Educational Supplement was again very unkind when it said this week:Slow learners are a good tear-jerking subject, even if you have nothing more to offer than kind words and a vacuous seven-point plan.If the right hon. Lady really wants to help slow learners, she should withdraw Circular 10/70 and reinstate Circular 10/65, and get rid, as we were doing, of this dreadful superiority-inferiority assumption which dominates our educational system. She should make compensatory education her first priority in allocating resources.
I now come to some lost opportunities of which the right hon. Lady has been guilty in the last nine months.
§ Mr. David Lane (Cambridge)
Before the right hon. Gentleman leaves the matter of regional differences—he mentioned the North—would he not say something about this Government's determination to go ahead with the raising of the school-leaving age, which his own Government had to postpone, and which we know will make a great contribution to correcting some of the inequalities which he has been talking about?
§ Mr. Short
I am coming to that, if the hon. Gentleman will contain himself.
I come now to some lost opportunities. First of all, this year the Secretary of State inherited for the first time for a number of years a fall in the annual growth of the school population, which has released building resources from the colossal task, faced in the last four or five years, of providing roofs over heads. I said in my speech at Swansea in March last year that this would happen. The right hon. Lady has decided to apply these released resources to replacing old primary schools. She did not decide this but the Tory manifesto did so for her. She was wrong to make primary schools as such her No. 1 priority. Our primary schools are our most effective and efficient educational institutions. Top priority in allocating these newly released resources in building should have been to compensate for the dreadful detriment being suffered by a quarter to a third of our children by providing nursery schools in down town areas, by better primary schools in those areas, better youth facilities, and so on.
In our education system there is a tendency to apply the best in buildings, teachers and equipment to those who need them the least. I do not blame the right hon. Lady for this tendency, which has existed for many years. But when the opportunity occurred this year she could at least have started to try to change that attitude. Indeed, she has a double opportunity, as I shall show shortly. She could have started to apply these new building resources to schools and regions where most help is needed to compensate for social and economic deprivation. But in order to do what the Tory Central Office decided would be electorally desirable in its manifesto she missed an opportunity to start correcting this dreadful 1196 imbalance in education, after the first real opportunity for many years.
Secondly, she said a good deal recently about the present greatly improved supply of teachers. I am surprised that she has never given credit to the Labour Government for this. She said something in her speech at the N.A.S. conference about simply following the plans left by the previous Conservative Government. But if she reads a speech one of my predecessors made at the N.U.T. conference at Blackpool in 1965 she would see the plan we followed. This has resulted in 86 per cent. more teachers in training than when the Labour Government came into office.
But now the right hon. Lady says that she is considering abolishing the teacher quota, the voluntary distribution of teachers, which does two extremely important things. First, it makes known to the public a global number of teachers which each local education authority is expected to employ. Surely this is highly desirable, especially after the way the Government have forced local authorities to raise their rates and the constant danger that some authorities will not employ sufficient teachers, for this global figure to continue to be known. Second, it ensures that the least salubrious areas of the country get their share of teachers. Surely if we are to correct the imbalance between area and area, between downtown and the more upstage areas, we have to ensure that those areas are able to recruit more, not fewer, teachers, and their share of the best teachers as well.
I repeat the plea which I have made for a change of attitude all round, by the Minister, by local authorities and by head teachers, and that we begin to apply our educational resources and our best resources, where they are most needed, for the children who are present deprived, and not where they are least needed. I regard the teacher quota as a vital piece of machinery in correcting the gross inequity between one local authority and another and between one region and another.
Before leaving the subject of teachers, I raise two other points. The right hon. Lady has made so many speeches but she has been very cagey indeed about the question of class sizes. I can find nothing which she has said about this. In the 1197 speech to which I referred in Swansea last year, I saidMay I repeat in the clearest possible terms that the aim of the Government—that is the Labour Government—is the pledge we gave in our 1964 election manifesto—namely to have no class over 30 in primary or secondary schools. That is now our target and not the 1965 National Advisory Council on the Training and Supply of Teachers Report.Does the right hon. Lady support this? Does she accept a target of no class of more than 30 in any school? Perhaps we may have a specific answer to that.
Would the right hon. Lady expand the rather nebulous, diffuse remarks she had made at Buxton on the 6th January, when she said that before the mid-1970s the teacher training programme would have to be reviewed? I have looked carefully again this morning at her words. I find it difficult to understand what she meant. Perhaps she would tell us.
The right hon. Lady is not only missing opportunities but, in another respect, she is moving away very quickly from equity, and that is in the welfare side of school life—dinners and milk. On dinners, may I repeat the question put to the Under-Secretary by my hon. Friend the Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor) when we had the debate on the Prayer, because the Under-Secretary did not reply to the question. It will be remembered that he downed for 20 minutes and made a great deal of, not sixth form debating points, but fourth form debating points. I ask the right hon. Lady explicitly. In the Chancellor's White Paper of October, "New Policies on Public Spending", under the heading "School Meals", the Chancellor announced the two increases in prices, and then he said:The aim is that the charge should eventually cover the running cost.Does that mean that the Government will continue to put up the price of school dinners so that the price charged to the child covers the cost of supplying a dinner? Parents throughout the country would like an answer to that. What is the Government's intention? I estimate that the economic cost is about 2s. 10d. now. I do not know whether the right hon. Lady has an up-to-date figure. It is probably more than that, the way food prices are rising. I have estimated that in 1198 a year's time, if prices rise as they are rising now, the cost will be 3s. 3d.; and by the time the second price increase comes, in April 1973, the cost will be 4s., if prices continue to rise as they are rising.
The Tory manifesto started with a message from the present Prime Minister. For the sake of greater accuracy, I have a copy. He said this.Once a decision is made, the Prime Minister and his colleagues will have the courage to stick to it.Will they stick to that decision in the Chancellor's White Paper about school meals? If they do, it follows that school meals will cost at least 3s. 3d. next year and 4s. in 1973, and probably more, because every time the price goes up there is a big fall-out and every time there is a fall-out the unit costs of the meals rise, apart from the rise in food prices. If these are the sort of prices that the right hon. Lady intends to charge for school dinners, it will be the end of school dinners.
When I go round schools, I already see, as I am sure does the right hon. Lady, children sitting round the playground eating sandwiches or going to the chip shop and eating chips in the school playground. In 1930 I was an assistant teacher in a mining village in the North of England. I remember that we used to make soup in a large pan to give to the children at lunch time. We are getting right back to the 1930s in the Government's policy on milk and meals.
Within three months of taking office, the right hon. Lady announced increases in the price of school meals of 55 per cent.; 33 per cent. has already gone on, on 1st April, and another 16 per cent. of that is going on in April 1973. I checked on the average family size, and it is 2.3. But let us suppose that it is two children. I am favouring the Government by reducing it a little. This adds to the price of school dinners, for the family of two children, 6s. per week now and 10s. per week in 1973. But there is another factor. The right hon. Lady has stopped milk in primary schools. She has said they will sell milk in primary schools. A very good mother, who is keen for her children and wishes to safeguard their health, will probably try to buy the milk. If she does, this will add 20p per week. This means that there is an addition, for 1199 the family with two children at primary school, of 10s. per week because of the right hon. Lady's policy. Will the right hon. Lady tell me whether this price increase is due to an excessive wage demand? The Prime Minister tells us all the time that price increases are due to excessive wage demands. In this case, 6s. a week this year is added to the budget of the average family of two children in a primary school because of her policy. Is that due to an excessive wage demand?
Of course, there is a great saving to the Government, and here I take the figures from the White Paper. On dinners alone, according to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, even allowing for the extended entitlement of free meals, the saving is £20 million this year and £38 million in 1974–75. If right hon. and hon. Members will look at the Budget speech of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, they will see that at column 1397 he gave the cost of the relief for higher earned incomes as £38 million. That is exactly the same figure as the sum being saved in a full year on school dinners; in other words, parents of children at school are having to pay 6s. a week this year and 10s. a week in two years' time to finance relief for higher earned incomes.
The right hon. Lady really is taking us back to the 1930's. I have heard her referred to throughout the country as "Hambone Mag". It is probably her fate to become the apotheosis of Florence Horsbrugh. She has withdrawn welfare milk for the under-fives, and she has withdrawn school milk for the sevens to elevens. Both are retrograde steps. Both will add to physical deprivation and widen the gulf between the physical wellbeing of the poor and the better off.
Before leaving this point, what is to happen to her plan to sell milk in schools? In order to do that she requires legislation. We have not had it yet. She requires the co-operation of the teachers. I understand that she will not get it. It requires more money in parents' pockets. The way that things are going, there is no spare cash. What is to happen to that plan?
I turn now to statutory school life and deal with the point raised by the hon. 1200 Member for Cambridge (Mr. Lane). Unfortunately in this country the statutory school life from 5 to 15 just omits at both ends what I believe to be the two most formative periods of our lives, the magic years from 3 to 5 and the turbulent years of the mid-teens. I said earlier that in my view nursery education is essential for at least 15 per cent. of our children to compensate for social and economic deprivation. The Labour Government started the Urban Programme. That provided 10,626 nursery places in the first two phases. I am glad that the Government are continuing this and that the right hon. Lady is using her share of it largely to provide nursery places. But I want to ask her one or two questions about it. I have before me the Home Office Press release on it, which says that it has approved in principle £4.2 million worth of capital projects to be carried out during the next two financial years for localities in England. Are we to understand that that is all that we are to get for two years? Will there be a programme next year, or is the phase to last for two years?
Will the right hon. Lady also tell us whether the favourable grant conditions are to be continued? The Press release says that the Exchequer grant of 75 per cent. is available for up to five years. What does that mean? Local authorities ought to know whether it is to be continued. I am very sorry that the right hon. Lady was stuck with the Tory manifesto in allocating the building resources that she has had available. I believe that she should have devoted a fair part of it to this.
I congratulate the right hon. Lady on taking up Labour's proposal which I made in a speech in Putney in June for a single starting date for all our children. This is a long overdue reform. I hope that the Government will get agreement on it and carry it forward.
At the other end of school life, among school leavers, there are wide differences between different parts of the country. In the South-East, 62.5 per cent. of children stay on over 15. In the North, the percentage is only 44.9. The right hon. Lady may have later figures, but I think that they will show the same kind of difference. Here again, it is the preponderantly working class areas which suffer. 1201 More than half of our children end their formal schooling at 15, and, of course, as any parent knows, the age of 15 is the most difficult year in a child's life. For half of our children, between leaving school and the watershed of marriage, which at present is 22 for women and 24 for men, in that hiatus of eight years or so, the idealism of school days can quickly evaporate. This is a blind spot in our education system for the half who leave school at 15 and do not go into higher education.
If the efforts of our schools are not largely to be wasted, we must pay more attention to the teenagers who leave school at 15. Eventually, society will find the will and the resources to continue formal education to the late teens for all its children, as it does now for the better-off. Until it does so, a great deal of educational effort and expenditure is wasted. I believe that it will happen towards the end of this decade. Until it happens, we must make greater efforts to keep alive the few glowing embers kindled in school by a better youth service than we have at present.
At the moment, the youth movement touches only 29 per cent. of young people, in spite of a great deal of dedicated work by youth leaders throughout the country. Most of the membership falls away at the age of 16 or 17. The bulk are in the 14 to 15 age group, among those who are still at school. Membership for girls falls away at an even earlier age. The meagreness of the effort is deplorable, and the youth service is rapidly losing its relevance to the modern world. To the modern teenager, it means less and less.
Following a proposal by the Albemarle Committee, the Youth Service Development Council was established to advise on the service in England and Wales. Now, 10 years after, the Council, under the chairmanship of my hon. Friend who has the unattractively-named constituency of Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell), has carried out a thorough study of the Youth Service aimed at giving the service a relevance in the modern world. What has the right hon. Lady done? She has rejected the report and sacked the council as well. She rejected the report in a Parliamentary Answer a fortnight ago, and she has sacked the council. That is how a Tory Government deal with 1202 troublesome people who come forward with new ideas wanting to change matters.
The central concept of the report, which is called "Youth and Community", is a new service not restricted to the 14 to 18 age band, contacting young people wherever they are found, for the youngest, embedded in dual-purpose schools and voluntary organisations, and, at the other end, recognising the adult status of the young people concerned. Its aim will be to bridge the gulfs between school, industry, the trade unions and the social services and enable young people to find their place in society, rather than being preoccupied by rather introverted clubs for the few.
The report could have guided the development of youth work in Britain throughout the 1970s and done a very great deal to involve young people in the life of the community before they acquire family responsibilities of their own. These years between leaving school and getting married are vulnerable years because of the lack of community, the lack of security and the lack of involvement, and irreparable harm can be done in those years.
The right hon. Lady's attitude to this report and to the council is deplorable. It brings into question all her protestations about wanting to help young people. I only hope that local education authorities throughout the country will use the report to guide them—in spite of the D.E.S.—and that they will, as far as possible, model their youth services on it.
I leave the higher education sector to be dealt with by my hon. Friend the Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Alan Williams) when he winds up the debate. The problem is here that we have no policy to criticise. We cannot criticise the right hon. Lady or her hon. Friends because they have done nothing, but every parent of children of 7, 8, 9 or 10 is extremely anxious to know what the chances will be in 1980 of those children getting a place in higher education. By then the number of pupils qualified will he double the present number, unless the right hon. Lady intends to raise entry standards and so reduce the percentage going in. Will the right hon. Lady tell us whether she will adhere to the Robbins criteria throughout the 'seventies? So far there is not a glimmer of a policy on 1203 higher education from the right hon. Lady.
My hon. Friend will deal also with the effect of the Government's policy on the rate support grant on educational expenditure by local authorities, for here is another hard piece of Tory philosophy—stand on your own feet—being applied to communities, to towns, as well as to individuals. The good ones will go ahead regardless and raise their rates and improve their services, but the poor ones will not.
Looking back over the right hon. Lady's first nine months, it is a miserable story. Let there be no mistake about it, the right hon. Lady is stealthily, steadily but surely injecting her own hard Tory philosophy into the running of our education system, and she is doing so because she and her party wish to preserve an inequitable society which needs an inequitable education system to preserve it.
§ 4.32 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)
I beg to move, to leave out from "House" to the end of the Question and to add instead thereof:approves the educational and youth policies of Her Majesty's Government which are providing for increased resources for education as a whole, enlarged building programmes, expansion of further and higher education, improvement in the pupil-teacher ratio, and the raising of the school leaving age, thereby widening the opportunities for all children and young people to develop their abilities to the full for their own and the nation's benefit.One thing that strikes me very much from the whole tenor of the speech of the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short) is that he must have a pretty low opinion of his own stewardship at the Department, and also that of his right hon. Friends who held the office. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman reads the Press handouts of my speeches. If he does not want to receive them, I shall gladly withdraw the service, but I note that he not only reads them, but writes articles about them, usually three or four months after the speech has been delivered.
The right hon. Gentleman is right. I was extremely busy during the Easter Recess. I went to the National Union of Teachers' Conference at Scarborough. I opened the Centenary Mathematics 1204 Association Conference in London. I went to the National Association of School-masters' Conference at Torquay, to the Headmasters Conference at Cardiff, and to the conference on the Mentally Handicapped, which was held at Bristol. At every one I received an extremely warm welcome as a member of a Government who are doing a good deal for education.
One would not have thought, from parts of the right hon. Gentleman's speech, that he and his Government had put up the price of school meals by a greater percentage than I did, and on two occasions.—[Interruption.]—The right hon. Gentleman put them up by 3d.—his Government put them up by rather more—but I shall deal with this issue when I deal with school milk and meals.
The right hon. Gentleman made some comments about the report on the Youth Services. He, or one of his predecessors—there were so many Secretaries of State that I am not sure which one—sat on the report without saying anything about it from July until the election in the following June. I at least reached some decisions about it, and did so in less time than the right hon. Gentleman had the report in his possession, but I shall come to that later.
In reply to some of the right hon. Gentleman's assertions, may I say at the outset that I totally reject his interpretation of our philosophy. I am at a loss to know how he deduces those conclusions from evidence which I shall attempt to advance.
First, the right hon. Gentleman was very critical about my top priority for the primary schools which, above all, has received a tremendous welcome from the country as a whole. I do not understand why the right hon. Gentleman should be so critical, because in his own Manifesto he said:In the next five years we shall put more resources, both teachers and building, into the primary schools and expand nursery schools provision both in, and outside educational priority areas.I should have thought that we were agreed on this, but I understand for the first time that we are not. I understand that the right hon. Gentleman would not have put such a high priority on the primary schools.
I agree that part of our primary school system is excellent, but no one can be 1205 more impressed than are those who go around these schools by the difference in results which the teachers are able to achieve in schools which are new and have good equipment, and in those which are in an appalling condition, and where the teachers often work in very bad conditions both in the classroom, and from the point of view of having few staffroom facilities. The difference between the work done in the very old schools and that done in the new schools is great indeed, and I think that it is worth making it one's top priority to replace and improve the very old primary schools.
The right hon. Gentleman spoke about nursery schools, about raising the school leaving age, and so on. He wrote a lot about it in a document called "Where". We are all anxious to try to do more for nursery schools and it does not require a new Act to do it. Both the right hon. Gentleman and I have retained Circular 8/60 which, in effect, precludes further development of nursery schools, the reason being that resources are not sufficient. However much one talks about education, or about changing the law, what matters ultimately is the amount of resources that one can make available.
There is nothing wrong with the provision in the law for nursery schools. The Circular stops as much development as we would like to see, but the underlying cause of the continuance in force of the Circular is a comparative shortage of resources, bearing in mind the many things that we all want to do.
We agree that nursery development should be concentrated under the urban programme in the deprived areas, and we are continuing the urban programme which the right hon. Gentleman's Government started. I have not seen the right hon. Gentleman's Press handout, but I understand that there has been no change in the urban programme, and that this slice is part of the programme of £60 million for the period 1968–76 allocated by the previous Government.
We, too, are keen on pre-school play groups, and believe that they are doing excellent work. Under the right hon. Gentleman's Government they were placed under the Seebohm Committee, and not under local education authorities.
1206 The right hon. Gentleman spoke about a single date of entry to infant schools. In some areas this could be done with the existing supply of teachers, and the existing stock of school buildings, but in others it could not. One would like to do more, but it would mean an extensive requirement of new capital resources.
I now come to the question of raising the school leaving age, which I thought the right hon. Gentleman glossed over very quickly. If there is one thing which really helps the regions, and the teenagers in the regions, it is raising the school leaving age. The children who have suffered most under the compulsory school leaving age of 15 have been those whose parents have insisted that they left school at the earliest possible opportunity to go out and earn for themselves. It is these children who have suffered, and I entirely agree that the proportions of children in some of the regions, in the Northern region mid elsewhere, who have left school early have been far higher than in other areas. So the effect of the programme to raise the school leaving age is directly to benefit the regions, to reduce inequalities, and to provide greater opportunity for those who would not otherwise have it.
I must take the right hon. Gentleman to task on this matter. I believe that he wanted to raise the school leaving age as much as I did, but he knows very well what happened to this great educational advance under the Labour Government. I think that he is ashamed of it. But, when the programme for raising the school leaving age was delayed in 1968, not one Minister resigned. They all quietly acquiesced. All of them said things, of course, but not one resigned in protest, although that step really did deprive young people of educational opportunities, particularly in the North, the East Midlands, Yorkshire and Humberside.
Many of those children left with no school leaving certificate, either O level or C.S.E. Indeed, my hon. Friend the Member for Chelsea (Mr. Worsley) asked a Question which threw up some extraordinary figures about the 15-year-olds who left school in 1968 and 1969: 91 per cent. of those who left school at the age of 15 had not attempted either C.S.E. or G.C.E. examination, whereas of the 16-year-olds the proportion was only 7 per cent.
1207 I agree that everything should not hinge upon examinations, but it undoubtedly does help young people, when they go to an employer or when they want to go to further education afterwards, having not fully appreciated the opportunities available earlier, if they have a good foundation on which to start and they have at least some certificates which act as a base from which to continue their studies and which they can show both to educational institutions and to employers. We are anxious that all children should have this good basic education before they leave school so that they may later pursue such other courses as they wish.
True, the right hon. Gentleman made plans, but we are implementing them. He had a word to say about the school building programme, and I shall have words to say about that later. But the money for the whole of the school building programme for the raising of the school leaving age is being found by this Government, and the implementation is taking place under this Government. On the latest cost limits, the figures are these: for 1970–71, £31 million allocated to school building for the raising of the school leaving age; for 1971–72, £43.5 million; and for 1972–73, £53.5 million.
Those are extra resources found for giving quite high priority to this project of raising the school leaving age, which will do a great deal to give further opportunity where opportunities are less than we should wish.
§ Mr. Short rose—
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I shall give way to the right hon. Gentleman, but I noticed that he skilfully avoided giving way on many occasions.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
The programme was announced by the right hon. Gentleman 1208 just as the 1968 programme was cancelled by his predecessor. It is one thing to say that one will find the money, but, if one has a record of having cancelled what one has said one will do, one's words do not necessarily carry so much veracity as they might otherwise. Hon. Members do not like the knowledge that the raising of the school leaving age to 16, after many years, will take place under this Government.
There is not only the question of capital cost. In the years when this programme begins to take effect, there will be an expected 220,000 pupils staying on at school who would otherwise have left. The annual cost will be about £40 million.
I am happy to pay the right hon. Gentleman a compliment and say that he made provision, particularly, for the supply of teachers for this great occasion. When I was on the Opposition Front Bench, I used to be worried that he did not pay as many compliments as I thought he should to one of his predecessors, the noble Lord, Lord Boyle, who also did a great deal in the expansion of the colleges of education. I do not want to fall into that trap, so I gladly pay tribute to what the right hon. Gentleman did for the supply of teachers and the expansion of teacher training colleges.
The right hon. Gentleman said that, with the raising of the school leaving age, he would like all children to leave at the end of the summer term and not have two dates, as now, at Easter and the summer. I do not agree with that. It would mean that some children stayed on until they were nearly 16 years 11 months old. I think it better that we should still have the two leaving dates. For one thing—as I heard one hon. Member say sotto voce a moment or two ago—it does help with the getting of jobs.
I totally disagree with the right hon. Gentleman when he says, in response to some of my speeches, that one should go on to attempt as a matter of policy to raise the school leaving age to 17 or 18. I could not accept that for a moment.
A number of hon. Members on both sides are a little worried about the future of the work experience schemes. I know that there are people who are fearful of the difficulty of coping with some young people who, in their own minds, are being compelled to stay on at school an extra 1209 year. I am most anxious that work experience schemes, that is, schemes under which children go out to do a few days in various different jobs and occupations while they are at school—under that umbrella, as it were—should continue. But the position is as follows.
Work experience schemes may be organised only for pupils who are over the upper compulsory school age limit. Therefore, only voluntary stayers-on can participate in them. After the raising of the school leaving age, unless the law is changed, the minimum age at which pupils will be able to take part in work experience schemes will automatically be raised by one year. In other words, pupils must be over 16.
It has been suggested on a number of occasions that it would be desirable that these schemes should continue to be available for the same age group as at present, namely, the 15–16s, and that the law on employment should be amended so as to make this possible. I am favourably disposed to work experience, provided that each scheme is properly thought out and managed, and we are consulting the C.B.I. and the T.U.C. about a possible change of law on employment to enable work experience schemes to continue for the same age range as now.
The right hon. Gentleman had a few acid words to say about the independent schools. I understood him to say that there was no element of merit in the entry but only an element of income. Neither is totally true. As he knows, there is a common entrance to many independent schools. He knows, also, that the Royal Commission on Independent Schools and on the Direct Grant Schools referred to this and was quite critical that some of the public schools had a selective entry. So in the sense that merit is measured by an ability intake, one certainly cannot go to such a school without passing the common entrance examination if it be a common entrance school.
I understand from the right hon. Gentleman that he is rather anxious to abolish independent schools, or to license them. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] This did not come out before the election, of course, but it seems that he has some support on his own benches. I 1210 greatly doubt that he would find massive support for it. He certainly could not find it from the Donnison Report, which, referring to independent day schools, said in paragraph 319:Our recommendations about the policies which the Government should adopt towards these schools are derived from principles upon which we are unanimous. The rights of voluntary bodies to provide, and of parents to pay for, private education that is recognised by the State as efficient should not be abridged by law.I am anxious to keep a fairly thriving independent sector. I never want to be a Secretary of State for Education when there is a monopoly of education in the public sector. As, I hope, a good Secretary of State for Education, I am not afraid of competition from another sector. I always think it remarkable that although people are allowed to spend on alcohol, tobacco, cars, better houses, better clothes and better holidays, some people would wish to preclude them from spending on education for their children. I join Donnison in totally rejecting that philosophy.
I will leave direct grant schools for the time being. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, I am also anxious to encourage these. If questions are raised about them, I shall try to answer them.
The right hon. Gentleman then went back to dwell on Circulars. We do not get equality of opportunity or increased opportunity from Circulars, whether 10/65 or 10/70. We get increased opportunity from increased resources. Both those Circulars and the action taken under them have led to some confusion in the mind of the public about the status of plans submitted under either of them. I noticed that when I answered Questions the other day and told an hon. Member opposite that a plan has no statutory basis, and that approval of it has no statutory basis, he looked at me rather blankly. May I therefore again take the opportunity of stating what the position is.
A plan for secondary reorganisation for an area, whether under 10/65 or 10/70, has no statutory basis. It is merely an indication of the way in which the local education authority is thinking of altering its secondary school provision. Therefore, approval of such a plan has no 1211 statutory effect. There is usually a sentence at the end of the Ministry document signifying the Secretary of State's views on the plan giving a warning to the effect that the approval was without prejudice to Section 13 of the 1944 Act. That Section contains the statutory provisions on changing the character of schools. It was amended after the Enfield case.
It is not a formality but one which requires positive action by the local authority with regard to: the kind of proposal which has to be submitted; the procedure which must be followed, namely, that notice must be given to the public and that a period of at least two months must be allowed for those who object to the proposal to send their objections to the Department of Education and Science to be considered. After all these factors, including the objections and the local education authority's reply to the objections, have been taken into account, it is the Secretary of State of the day who has the task of either approving that change or withholding approval.
The right hon. Gentleman knows this, because he attempted to introduce a Bill to alter the balance between central and local government with regard to compelling local authorities to put forward plans, but at no stage in that Bill did he attempt to alter the provisions of Section 13. Therefore, may we have it quite clear that approval of a plan under a Circular is not to be taken as meaning that there will necessarily be a change in the character of the schools to which that plan refers. There then must be action through all the statutory procedure and the decision ultimately lies with the Secretary of State of the day.
§ Mr. J. D. Dormand (Easington)
The right hon. Lady is making a very important point. In view of what she says, how much value does she place on the submission of plans? She knows, as the House knows, that this is a very important part of the machinery of reorganisation. Does she say that local education authorities should not submit plans?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
No, I have not said that. We are interested to receive plans, and like to know the way in which local education authorities are thinking about the reorganisation in their area. That 1212 is why we go on receiving plans. In the past few weeks we have slightly changed our policy on how we acknowledge them. Because of the confusion to which I have referred, we no longer issue approval of plans but say that we have taken note of them. I hope that by this means the full Section 13 procedure, which is the statutory procedure laid down by Parliament, will be restored to its full significance in the public view. But we go on receiving plans and are very interested to receive them.
There are 163 local education authorities in England and Wales. Of these, 131 have plans for the whole or part of their area which have been approved in principle. About 40 of these 131 have completed reorganisation of their county secondary provision by the Section 13 procedure. The majority of the 131 have still to submit many Section 13 statutory proposals if they wish to pursue their plans. No Minister, as the law stands, can compel a local education authority to submit a proposal under Section 13. I understand that the initiative lies with the local authority. Some of the local authorities have not yet reached a stage of submitting any Section 13 notices. Indeed, 38 have submitted no Section 13 proposals to change the character of their schools.
In January, 1970, of 5,385 maintained secondary schools, including voluntary, both denominational and non-denominational, 1,145 were comprehensive, leaving 4,240 which were not. In pupil terms, 31 per cent. of the secondary school population are in comprehensive or nonselective schools. There are 133 Section 13 proposals relating to secondary schools before the Department. I hope that hon. Members will now understand why they may take a little time. It is because we must give each of them very careful consideration.
There is, therefore, and will continue to be, a mixed system of schools in the secondary system. As we continually pointed out to the right hon. Gentleman before last June, he never provided money to translate his ideas into reality, quite apart from the legal problem. The main provision to do this has come from the additional building programmes for the raising of the school leaving age, which was one of the first casualties of his Government.
§ Mr. Simon Mahon (Bootle)
When considering the plight of the voluntary schools, which are considering reorganisation as much as the schools she is talking about, is the right hon. Lady fully aware of their growing financial responsibilities? Very often they are very short of cash for educational provision, as is the case in Liverpool, which means that they are rather slow in coming to decisions. Can the right hon. Lady say something about this?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
We are all aware of the problem, because most of us have such schools in our constituencies. I cannot say anything about altering the cash position, because I have no such proposals. As the hon. Gentleman knows—we were on the same Committee—many such schools are far too small anyway to be able to change their character. I believe that there is a place for small schools, quite apart from their being denominational, because many parents would like to have the choice of small schools to which to send their children.
The right hon. Gentleman spoke a great deal about school meals, and referred me to the Government's White Paper. The price of the school meal is going up from 9p to 12p this month. This increase of 33⅓ per cent. is, as a proportion of the previous price, less than the 50 per cent. imposed by the right hon. Gentleman's Government in 1968. That was following a period of wage freeze, severe restraint and a ceiling of 3½ per cent. on pay increases.
Whatever hon. Members opposite may think about the position now, they cannot say that it is a position either of wage freeze, restraint or a 3½ per cent. ceiling. Even at the new price there will still be a subsidy on each meal amounting to nearly 30 per cent. of the cost, or an additional 5p. So a meal which will cost 12p this month to the child will in fact, to the local education authority, on average cost 17p—an additional 5p.
The right hon. Gentleman mentioned various factors in the price of the meal. If I recollect correctly, the cost of the food in the meal is about one-third of the total cost, so obviously other components have a considerable influence in fixing the price of the meal. In accordance with our policy of more selective help, the Government have taken steps to ensure that no parent who cannot 1214 genuinely afford to pay the new charge will be called upon to do so. The right hon. Gentleman knows that new and generous remission scales will take effect this month. When he was very critical of how the Government are handling the fortunes, if I may put it that way, of the other people not so well off in our society, he might have remembered that, for the first time, we have a family income supplement to try to help those who are just above the income level and that the supplement may be up to £4 per week. [HON. MEMBERS: "Peanuts!"] The peanuts are more than they ever were under the last Government.
In spite of their boasts, the last Government were not able to do anything in the way of a kind of wage supplement that starts to help these people. It is my view that the Opposition do not like the fact that we have done it and have helped people whom they did not help. Moreover, those with the supplement have an automatic passport to free school meals. So those who are worse off in our society are catered for in the sense that there is provision for free school meals. We expect that, under the new remission scales in the new provisions, nearly one million children will be eligible for free school meals and that the take-up will be about 80 per cent.
§ Mr. Kenneth Marks (Manchester, Gorton)
Does the right hon. Lady intend to give the same publicity to the availability of these free school meals and the income basis as was done by the Labour Government? Does she intend to send a letter to all parents to let them know that they can claim this provision?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I cannot say that we shall send a letter to every parent, but as I came out of my Department the other day a great publicity conference was going on. We shall do all in our power to see that the take-up of free school meals is as much as it should be. That will not surprise the hon. Gentleman, since he would expect us to do that, just as the last Government did. We have sent a Circular to local education authorities about the related question of embarrassment to some children and, like the right hon. Gentleman before us, we hope that local education authorities will do everything possible so that children who have free school meals are not identifiable to their fellow schoolchildren, 1215 because children are extremely sensitive and I think that one of the worst things one can do is to make them conspicuous among their friends. We shall continue the right hon. Gentleman's policy of doing everything possible to encourage local authorities to do everything possible to see that there is no embarrassment to children in these circumsances.
The right hon. Gentleman asked specific questions about school meals. The policy is as set out in the White Paper to which he referred. The rate of increase will be also as set out there—up to 14p in 1973. He knows that there is a good deal more to it than that in the sense that the figures are averages and that the cost of preparing and serving school meals varies from area to area. These are only average figures.
I think that many parents might wish to have something less than a full school meal available for their children in the middle of the day. Not all children stay at school for meals and many parents would like to have a choice available. It may be, therefore, that some local education authorities will wish to serve not one meal but to give a choice. That rests with them, but in the meantime the policy as set out in the White Paper will continue. The policy is to charge the full cost to those who can afford it, with full provision under the new remission scales and under the family income supplement for those who cannot.
The logic of what the right hon. Gentleman was saying was that, because some children are not perhaps fed properly by their parents at home, one should abolish the entire cost of the school meal and give it free. If that is his logic, the cost would be about £260 million a year. Otherwise, the philosophy is to provide it free for those who cannot afford it but to charge an economic price for those who can, with tapering off for those who have more than one child.
The right hon. Gentleman also referred to school milk. Free school milk is to continue for children in nursery schools and in infants' schools—that is, for children up to seven years of age and, in primary schools, for children over seven and up to 12, where there is a medical need. But it is quite wrong to say that school milk is being abolished completely in infants' and primary schools—it is not. 1216 The power to which he referred, to sell milk to school pupils, will come forward in a Bill which will shortly be put before the House. At the moment, the local education authority has power to sell all sorts of beverages but not milk, and does of course sell all sorts of beverages. It should obviously have power to sell milk as well.
§ Mr. James A. Dunn (Liverpool, Kirkdale)
To continue the thesis which the right hon. Lady is expounding, does not she agree that there is entitlement in junior schools to free school milk but at the same time local education authorities cannot sell milk to those children who wish to pay for it? Is it not the case, therefore, that those children who are entitled to free milk are being identified?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
They are being entitled to free milk because of a medical need and not on a means tested basis. That perhaps is what is in the hon. Gentleman's mind. Free milk is in response to a certified medical need.
§ Mr. Neil Kinnock (Bedwellty)
Does not the right hon. Lady acknowledge that all children at that age have a medical need for milk and that many parents will be reluctant to identify their children as sickly and claim milk? Will there not be a great difficulty in take-up?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I acknowledge that most children of that age have need for milk. I do not acknowledge that they all have a need for free milk in schools, which is quite different.
I turn now to a subject which the right hon. Gentleman did not raise but which I feel I must say something about because hon. Members are bound to raise it in the debate, and, judging by the nods I see, some of them know what it is. I am referring to the privately made film, "Growing Up", which I understand shows the sex act and some sequences on masturbation. I am sure that the House wishes to have my views.
As far as I have been able to discover, no invitation to attend the preview was sent to my Department or to the Inspectorate. But one of my professional advisers attended as a medical doctor and as an assessor of the Health Education Council. One other person from the Health Education Council was also present and a report will be made to the Council. The combined effects of the 1217 provisions of the Education Acts on curricula matters, of which this is one, are, speaking generally, that, first, in the case of a primary school, the effective power to prohibit the showing of the film resides with the local education authority, and, secondly, in the case of a secondary school, including a county secondary school, that power lies with the governors.
As Secretary of State I have no direct powers. Judging from the advice and information I have received, I am very perturbed by the possibility of this film being shown to schoolchildren, and I am sure that this view is shared by many other parents. I hope that local authorities, heads of schools, governors and individual teachers will consider with the utmost caution any suggestion that the film should be shown in the schools. In the light of any views which the Health Education Council may express, I shall be considering further whether any guidance to local education authorities is advisable on this matter, or the provision of sex education in general.
I should like to say a few words about teachers' pay which, of course, is also pertinent to the debate. This salary negotiation was about the structure of pay as well as the level. All the offers by the Management Panel were on the basis of a new structure. The open offer of 8.8 per cent., or 9.7 per cent. without prejudice, refers to the percentage increase on the total sum of salaries as a whole, now running at £580 million a year. Its effect was that every teacher was offered 8 per cent., or 9 per cent, without prejudice, increase this year to take him to the appropriate point of one of five new scales, or one of two further scales relating to deputy head teachers or head teachers.
In successive years by virtue of this structured offer further increases would automatically accrue, because the new scales rise by higher annual increments than the old scales and to increased maxima. This, of course, is usual in a structural settlement. Over the course of some four further years, there would thus be a considerable increase in relation to the percentage offered as teachers proceeded by larger increments to the higher maxima.
I should like to give two examples of the final effect of the maxima, one at the bottom end and one at the top end, to 1218 illustrate the effect of the scales. I refer first to the non-graduate on the basic scale. The present maximum that he can earn is £1,720; the proposed maximum under the new basic scale would be £2,090. Therefore, the increase to him when the scale had been fully operative would be £370 a year. I take at the other end the head teacher of a large secondary school of about 1,800 pupils. His present maximum is £4,476 a year and his new maximum would be £5,035 a year. Therefore, the effect of this structure increase for him would be to increase his permitted maximum by £559 a year.
The total annual cost of the offer when its effect was fully felt would have been £87 million. The Teachers' Panel rejected this offer and the independent chairman of Burnham has ruled that deadlock was reached and has referred the matter for arbitration to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment under the arrangements made in 1965 by the right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland). The matter is therefore in his hands, but it may he useful if I make two points about the arrangements which are worrying some teachers.
The first is the terms of reference for the arbitration. Under the arrangements, the terms of reference have to be agreed between the two panels, the Teachers' Panel and the Management Panel. In default of agreement, they have to be settled by the independent chairman of Burnham. Secondly, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment can appoint an independent chairman of the arbitration panel only after consultation with both panels.
There are only two ways under present legislation by which teachers can get an increase in pay: one is by agreement in the Burnham Committee; the other is by arbitral award. If they feel that they cannot conclude an agreement, I hope that they will co-operate in arbitration, and I was glad to hear that the teachers' Easter conferences did not rule out this course. I make it quite clear that if the teachers would prefer to go back into the Burnham Committee and conclude the business there, the Committee's procedure would allow them to do so at any time.
The right hon. Gentleman asked me one or two pertinent questions about teacher supply. At the risk of being 1219 repetitive, I have already handed him his compliment on improving the pupil-teacher ratio, which a year ago was 23 pupils to one teacher and this year is provisionally put at 22.6 pupils to one teacher, an average for both primary and secondary schools together.
He mentioned my remarks at Buxton in January. What I said was:It is a serious question whether, in the second half of this decade, it will be right to continue the output of teachers at the present rate and thus to pre-empt a very large share of the total resources available for improving the operating standards of the schools.I should have thought it obviously desirable to keep the problem under review and to review priorities in education in the light of current conditions, and I wished to get discussion on that matter going.
The right hon. Gentleman asked me about class sizes. My task, as he knows, is to see that there are enough teachers in the schools. He also knows that it is for the headmaster or headmistress of a school to decide how his or her staff should be allocated, and I find support for this attitude in Circular 16/69 issued by the previous Government under the right hon. Gentleman's authority. In paragraph 4 it said:Later, when further targets are fixed"—that is, for teacher supply—it will probably prove convenient to fix them in the form not of class sizes but of pupil-teacher ratios…and probably by a single overall national pupil teacher ratio. That, I believe, is the better way in which to go about it.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I am agreeing with the right hon. Gentleman's Circular and I assume he knows what went out in his Circulars.
He knows that the teachers' quota is not my quota. The quota is an arrangement between the teachers and the local education authorities, but the Department administers it. I thought that the quota was regarded as a stop-gap device to deal with a shortage. In so far as a shortage still persisted in some area, a quota would be needed, but I should 1220 have thought that we were coming to the stage when the improvement in teacher supply, thanks to the right hon. Gentleman and his predecessors and some of my predecessors, was so great that we should at least consider whether the quota policy should be continued.
I turn briefly to the Youth Service. The hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell) indicated on 1st April that he accepted the Y.S.D.C. report on behalf of the Government. I can only assume that he suffered a slip of memory, because the foreword to that report by his right hon. Friend the then Secretary of State made it clear that it was published as a discussion document without commitment of the Government, and, as subsequent statements in the House by the hon. Lady the Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor) testified, no decision on the report was taken by the previous Administration. It was therefore news to everyone that he, the chairman of the Council, had accepted it on behalf of the Government, but perhaps I misunderstood the hon. Gentleman.
§ Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, Small Heath)
I do not think that the right hon. Lady misunderstood me, but she was misinformed by her advisers. I hope to return to this matter in detail later, but if the right hon. Lady will do me the honour of looking up the statement I made to a Press conference on behalf of the Government—I agree that it was not in the House and, if my memory serves me, I believe that it was in the parliamentary recess—she will find that I announced acceptance of the report in principle by the Government.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I can only say that it is news to everyone, including some of those who sat opposite on the Front Bench. Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will kindly send me the statement in whim he accepted his own report on behalf of the Government.
§ Mr. Howell
There are more educational advisers present at our deliberations today than I have seen in the last six years. This was an official statement I was putting out. I made the statement in the Department of Education in the presence of the entire educational Press. Would the right hon. Lady please jack it out of her own pigeon hole?
§ Mrs. Thatcher
We will certainly look for it. I am surprised that when we have discussed this at Question Time—at which the hon. Member is rarely present—his own Front Bench did not follow up when I said that I had sat on the report for a far shorter time than they sat on a report without giving a decision. We will try to clear up the statement by the winding-up speech.
§ Mr. Denis Howell rose—
§ Mr. Howell
On a point of order. On the last two occasions when we have had Questions in this House on education matters, I put supplementary questions to the right hon. Lady.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Robert Grant-Ferris)
Order. I cannot judge on points of decency, unless they are non-parliamentary.
§ Mrs. Thatcher
Perhaps the hon. Gentleman will make his point later. We will try to get the statement to which he refers.
The level of Government support to the Youth Service will be maintained in real terms. The proposal on capital grants, which I shall discuss with the various bodies concerned with the future of the Youth Service, is that some of the resources should be diverted through the mechanism of the urban programme to areas of social need. We shall he willing, on an experimental basis, to support promising new initiatives in our work with young people.
The right hon. Gentleman said that I had in effect abolished the Youth Service Development Council. The Albemarle Report proposed that this Council should be set up for a period of only 10 years. It said:The Minister of Education should initiate a ten-year development programme for the Youth Service divided into two stages of five years each. For this period of development the Minister should appoint a small advisory committee of not more than 12 persons to be called the Youth Service Development Council.1222 That Council had done 10 years and that was the period envisaged for it by the Albemarle Report.
I did not accept some of the recommendations of the Report because I believe that the emphasis should continue to be on the youth aspect of it and not so much on the community. A great deal of youth work is in the community, but in the Department I wish the emphasis to continue to be on youth work.
§ Mr. James Dempsey (Coatbridge and Airdrie)rose—
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I cannot give way. I have not by any means occupied the full amount of time allotted to me by my speech.
Turning to education expenditure as a whole, after taking into account the expected benefits of the Government's reduction in expenditure on school meals and milk and further education fees, total education expenditure in each of the years 1970–71 to 1973–74 remains higher in the 1970 White Paper than the forecast in the previous White Paper. Therefore the expenditure, even after the economies, is higher than that provided for by the previous Government. Moreover, over the coming four years, expenditure on education is now forecast to rise by 11 per cent. compared with the rise of 9.3 per cent. estimated by the previous Government. Not only is the total sum higher but the increase is greater.
As the right hon. Gentleman knows the school building programme will reach the highest record level in history. In the years 1971–72 and 1972–73 the total programme in each year will be £212 million. The emphasis is on primary school improvements and that has been my top priority. Cost limits have just been raised and we have allocated an extra £2 million in each of the two successive years to minor works, particularly those arising from the need to do more to the primary schools. We have revised the number of primary schools that were built, pre-1903, which need replacement. The reason for that is that as more local education authorities realised that for the first time there was a genuine possibility of replacing their schools they found an extra certain number—[Interruption.] The only mistake I made was in relying on figures got during the right hon Gentleman's time.
1223 As to educational priority areas, our policy on primary schools has directly helped those areas to a far greater extent than anything which the right hon. Gentleman did. A great deal of that money has gone to replace schools in educational priority areas. It follows that the Government's policies in education are to give top priority to the improvement of primary schools, to concentrate limited nursery school courses in deprived areas, to give more opportunities to those who would otherwise have left school at the age of 15, to re-deploy monies for the Youth Service in favour of the less prosperous areas and to make improved provision for higher education, with particular reference to the polytechnic sector.
These policies are designed positively to increase educational opportunity in those parts of the education service where it will prove most effective. They are the policies being implemented in our programmes and I confidently ask the House to reject the right hon. Gentleman's Motion and to support the Amendment.
§ 5.28 p.m.
§ Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, Small Heath)
I am grateful to have the opportunity of following the right hon. Lady in the debate. I want to spend most of my speech dealing with the desecration of the Youth Services to which the right hon. Lady has just committed herself, but before doing so I should like to mention one or two things arising from her speech. It was the most remarkable speech we have heard, completely devoid of any idea or policy which we could have expected to be put forward by any Minister who has had ten months to assess the situation.
The best tribute I can pay to the speech of my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short) is to point out that in the 55 minutes for which the right hon. Lady spoke—we do not complain about that—exactly half of the time was spent in answering points raised in the speech of my right hon. Friend. The right hon. Lady does not do a service to herself or her cause by counting everything she has to say, especially in education, in absolutely party political terms, as she has done this afternoon. There was the reference to me: "The hon. Member for Small Heath does not usually come to 1224 our discussions", she said. That is a gratuitously insulting thing for a Minister to say. [Interruption.] If the hon. Member for Southampton, Test (Mr. James Hill) will listen, he can judge for himself.
§ Mr. Howell
I am grateful that my vocabulary is gaining acceptance. Having sat through several Question sessions and asked Questions, having sat throughout the night to get a debate on the Consolidated Fund Bill, and having had to leave here at ten o'clock in the morning without being able to raise the subject, I would say, with that history, that it ill-becomes the right hon. Lady to make the slighting references which she made.
The Secretary of State made two points which were novel. First, he said that, in future, plans for the reorganisation of secondary education are to be, not approved by the Government, but taken note of. That is a change of monumental proportions. What we want to know is how far the allocation of resources, particularly for capital works, will have regard to the plans put forward by local authorities. The right hon. Lady said very little on this subject. I assume, and we all hope, that the fact that the Department is to take note of instead of approving plans does not mean that resources for the capital programmes of the Ministry will not be made available if the Government take note of but do not necessarily approve the plans.
The second novel point which the Secretary of State made concerned teachers' salaries. I hope that she will consider this matter again. I cannot think of one reason why the teachers should accept or be expected to accept the Government's offer. It was bad enough at the time that it was made, but since then increases of about 30 per cent. have been negotiated in the motor industry and fantastic tax concessions have been given to surtax payers in the Budget. In the time scale since the offer was made, it is almost indecent to expect teachers to go to arbitration or to be content with an 8.8 or 9 per cent. increase. I ask the Government to carry out a radical reappraisal of the wages situation in the teaching profession and to do the decent 1225 thing and make a much more realistic offer.
I wish to concentrate on one matter, namely, the Report on the Youth Service. The Youth Service Development Council, of which I had the honour to be Chairman for five years when I was Under-Secretary of State, took the view that the Albemarle Committee, on which I was privileged to sit, had charted the course for the Youth Service for the next ten years. The time was ripe when the same job needed to be done for the 1970s. My right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central said that about 29 per cent. of all young people in the urban areas were not attached to any form of youth organisation. That is 100 per cent. too many. Our figures and researches showed that the figure in the main conurbations was about 10 or 12 per cent. In other words, nearly 80 per cent. of young people in the large towns—the figure is 70 per cent. if one excludes university students and people in higher education—having left school in areas of great deprivation, do not take or do not have the opportunity of involving themselves in the Youth Service.
In that crisis situation the Youth Service Development Council started to do its thinking. The Albemarle Committee charted the course for the youth service over the next ten years and it was hoped that the situation would be corrected. When we found that, far from correcting it, the situation for young people in urban areas was chronically worse, we faced up to the logic of that and said that it would be complete nonsense to end the Youth Service Development Council. That is why we recommend that the council should remain in being. But the right hon. Lady the Secretary of State has got rid of it.
There has been a catastrophic fall-off in the Youth Service. Many of the problems concerning violence and hooliganism on Saturday afternoons which I used to deal with were almost entirely due to the fact that youngsters of 16, 17 and 18 years of age were not spending their leisure time wisely and that the services of counselling and leisure facilities which should have been available to them were not available to them.
By cutting down the Youth Service the Secretary of State has washed her hands completely of this subject. The great 1226 problem concerns the unattached people. As we said in our Report, the generation gap between the 13 and 18 year olds is greater than it is between the 18 and 38 year olds, because the 17 and 18-year-old youngsters regard 13 and 14-year-old-youngsters in the Boy Scouts, and particularly in the Wolf Cubs, as "kids' business".
Our recommendation was that the youth service should be divided; there should be two youth services. There should be one following the traditional pattern, with uniformed organisations, and so on, but which could properly be attached to the formal education service. But we reached the conclusion that what the country mainly needed for the unattached, more physically mature if not intellectually mature youngsters was a new young adult service. It is that recommendation which has created the difficulties we face.
I know the processes in the Department. I know the way in which Ministers are advised. When we made our proposals, strenuous opposition was built up in Whitehall. I was amazed at the pressures put on Ministers to get the Report rejected, mainly by people who had not the faintest idea what we were talking about. This was illustrated in a Written Answer given by the Secretary of State. The right right Lady said that the Report should be jettisoned, even though the Youth Service Development Council had spent two years on it and two major working parties had considered two aspects of the problem that I have been talking about, because she did not think that it would be right radically to change the nature of the service by setting up a youth and community service without clearly defined responsibilities.
It is extremely difficult clearly to define what one wants to do in this area. If we could clearly define it for the 17, 18 and 19-year-olds, there would be no problem. I should not be telephoned on Saturday afternoons by representatives of newspapers asking me to comment about hooliganism. People would not complain about hooliganism and our juvenile courts would not be filled with an ever-increasing number of youngsters.
The trouble is that if the Youth Service were put, as it should be put, in a general community setting, especially for 1227 the young adults, it would cost money. Extra resources would have to be made available. There would have to be changes in attitude. I said in the presence of the educational Press that we accepted the Report in principle. I could not go further, as I should have liked to do—and I hope that my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central will not mind my saying this—because the forces of obstruction were already building up in Whitehall. Those forces were very formidable. We had a formula to deal with this revolutionary situation which I was creating when I set up a Departmental committee under the chairmanship of a distinguished civil servant, and although I announced acceptance of the Report in principle, it was sent to him to deal with and to recommend details. That took a very long time.
I know the people who advised the right hon. Lady. I think that it is to the credit of my right hon. Friend that he refused to accept the advice that he was being offered. By that time I had left the Department of Education and gone to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, where I was still able to keep in touch with the situation, because this was being considered at Cabinet Committee level. What astounds me is that the advice which is accepted on this matter is from people who have not the faintest knowledge of the youngsters we are talking about. We are talking about individuals in such places as Sheffield, Liverpool, London and Birmingham, who are spending their time on the street corners, who come from very bad housing conditions, who work in dead-end jobs, who have no proper leisure facilities available to them, who have no counselling advice available to them, who have no mature, professional youth service advice available to them.
The people who were advising me and who have advised the right hon. Lady—whose advice I could not accept but whose advice she has accepted—are people who send their children to Oxford or Cambridge or other universities. That is the reality of the situation. The advice is given by people who come from good homes in middle-class surburbia. They are quite unaware of the conditions operating for so many youngsters 1228 in the working-class areas. That is the truth of the situation.
I come to the scandal of this. I come back to the situation which grieves me most of all. The right hon. Lady announced the decision on 29th March, nine months after she had come into office. In those nine months the right hon. Lady and the Under-Secretary did not call a single meeting of the Youth Service Development Council. In all those nine months, when they were taking a decision to jettison this Report and not to accept it, they did not have even the decency to ask the Youth Service Development Council what was its advice. They never had the sense to take their ideas and proposals to the council. It was still there to advise the Government. It had been set up by Lord Eccles, and when he set it up he said that it was set up not only to advise the Government but to advise the Cabinet. Therefore, it was of that importance when he started it, and he took the chair of the council when he started it.
Let us look for a moment at the situation which has arisen in our society. Every youth training college has gone over to the principles of the Report and is operating it in the training of youth leaders. Every one of them has moved from a one-year course to a two-year course as the first move to get a three-year course, and they are all doing the training of young people very sensibly in the context of the community. That is the concept which the right hon. Lady has rejected.
She told us in her speech that the one thing she does not like is the idea of the Youth Service leader operating in the community. What a nonsense that is on her part in accepting that advice, which she put to the House today. I cannot believe she thought it up herself. I have more respect for her than that. What a nonsense it is. Are these youngsters not in the community? What a nonsense for her to say, "I am not going to have the Youth Service operating in the community".
§ Mrs. Thatcher
I said that a great deal of youth work which is done in fact is done in the community. The Department prefers the emphasis to remain on the 14 to 20-year-olds, with the same 1229 latitude with regard to the age range. It prefers the emphasis and stress to be on the youth work, and not to extend to the whole of the community work which, as the hon. Gentleman is the first to know, is a charge on other spheres as well.
§ Mr. Howell
If it is a charge on other spheres, it is not being done. What the right hon. Lady is saying is that there is a tremendous vacuum in our society, because we all know that other agencies outside the Youth Service—if it is upon those she is to rely—cannot be relied upon to deal with the matter because they are not equipped to do so and have not the resources to do so. There is a vacuum in the most important section of the youth service.
Not only have the training colleges gone over to this concept, but most of the local authority departments have done so as well. They have changed their youth facilities from Youth Service to youth and community services. They have accepted the logic of the position as well.
The youth organisations, as the right hon. Lady must know, view with great alarm the developments which she has announced throughout the day. I hope very much that the right hon. Lady will think again about the situation, because we have only a small budget for the youth service. In all conscience it is far too small, and that is a reflection upon as well as upon the right hon. Lady—perhaps an even bigger reflection, for I do not think we want to shirk our responsibilities. There should be someone overseeing where the money goes and having a look at the continuing problems in the service. It ought not to be a job just for a Minister and civil servants.
Although she made her announcement, the right hon. Lady has not told us what she is putting in the place of the council—even though she has rejected the one body which could do this job effectively. I am sorry that I shall not be here for the reply by the Under-Secretary of State—for reasons which I have given him and which are not a discourtesy to him: I have to go elsewhere. However, I hope that when he replies he will tell the House what he intends to provide to fill the vacuum which has been created in the central control of the Youth Service 1230 and the central observation of the problems facing us. It is a very serious situation because what the right hon. Lady and her colleagues have done is to disband the Youth Service team serving the young adults in our society wherever their needs were defined, and they have put nothing in its place. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will say something about that and the continuous and growing problems produced by this specification of the Youth Service.
§ 5.47 p.m.
§ Miss Janet Fookes (Merton and Morden)
I rise to make my maiden speech, conscious of the fact that I am the last one of the June batch to do so. If I was not aware of it before, the kindly offer of Crossbencher of a wooden spoon has made me aware of it. Whether he faithfully promised or not to send it, it has not yet arrived. I await it. He said it was winging on its way. Perhaps it is on its way, but it has been a long time on the wing. Whether it was a rhetorical flourish on his part and not meant to be taken seriously, I do not know. Possibly it has been delayed in the post, or perhaps he just plain forgot. Anyway, I still await it for use in my more domestic moments.
I turn to more important matters. Usually one has the pleasant task of paying a compliment to one's predecessor in one's constituency. My predecessor, however, still sits in this House for another constituency and he has made it abundantly clear to me that I am to say nothing about him whatever. Since he is the Government Deputy Chief Whip it will be appreciated that I hasten to comply. On the other hand I must pay a tribute to the very great kindness which he showed me both as a candidate and, since, as a Member of the House. He did a great deal to help me get to know my constituency.
I am grateful, too, to my constituency of Merton and Morden for the kindness which it has shown to a newcomer. It is a very hard-working constituency lying in the commuter belt of Greater London, and I am very pleased indeed to represent it. My only sadness is that, because of Boundary Commission changes, it will disappear completely at the next General Election.
I am interested in the educational setup in Merton. I have visited several schools there, and I hope to complete my 1231 visits before the end of the year. I have been interested to see how a sound scheme of comprehensive reorganisation is working in practice. Where such sound principles are found, I am in favour of comprehensive education and I make that point now, so that the House knows where I stand.
It is not my purpose this afternoon to deal with comprehensive education but rather to turn to a point made by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and Science concerning sex education in schools. I was extremely glad that she made the comments she did, and to hear that she intends to give guidance, although she has no powers in this matter. Many parents are deeply disturbed by the latest film which has been made on the subject, and also by the "Little Red Book". Only yesterday, when I was speaking on a subject which had nothing whatever to do with education, during question time several people asked me what they should do if there were a likelihood of this film being shown in schools. I fear that in the excitement generated by these rather undesirable publications there will be a failure to appreciate the need for good, sensible sex education in schools.
As a teacher and the chairman of an education committee, I have met many parents who, even in this permissive age, feel self-conscious about tackling this subject. What they find difficult they tend to put off to a more convenient day, which never comes. Some parents are not equipped to give this kind of information. They may not have a sufficient command of English, and they may not even know the facts sufficiently well to be able to put them over to a young child. We entrust teachers with the teaching of many other subjects, and I feel that trained people can be of great assistance in sex education.
There is a danger that children who do not receive sex education either at school or from their parents are liable to pick it up in the most undesirable way—what I would describe as "playground sex", the sniggers in the corner, from which the most extraordinary so-called facts emerge which are biologically incorrect and leave the child with a distorted view of the subject. There is also the danger that, if we leave a gap, 1232 unscrupulous commercial organisations will try to cash in. I am reminded of the Biblical parable of the man whose soul was cleansed of one devil which left his soul quite clean and empty, but in due course the devil came back with several companions and the man's case was worse than before.
It is incumbent upon us to make sure that education of the kind we should like to see is given. Although decency and delicacy in the middle of the 20th century do not seem to have the highest priority, there are many who would like sex education to be done in a decent and delicate way. The co-operation and approval of the parents is an absolutely essential feature of any attempt to give sex education in school.
It may perhaps be useful to the House if I describe an experiment made by the local education authority of which I was chairman until the General Election. The chief education officer and I received an invitation to view the two films being put out by the B.B.C. for showing to 8-and 9-year-olds in primary schools. We went to see the films, and we had the benefit of being able to question those who had made the films and to hear the comments of the people who had taken part in a pilot scheme in which the B.B.C. had shown the films in schools and could judge the reaction. I was greatly impressed by the way in which the films handled the subject. Much of the unkind publicity which surrounded the films was quite unmerited.
We then returned to our local education authority and called together all the heads of primary schools. I gave them my views on the films, and they showed sufficient interest to want to see them for themselves. We arranged a meeting where the films could be shown, and again a representative of the B.B.C. came and answered questions. It was made clear that the local education authority would back to the hilt those heads who wished to go further, on the one condition that they had the co-operation and approval of the parents. Some heads called the parents together and showed them the films, and the parents talked it over. In certain schools the films have been shown and have been a great success. Many parents have said that they now feel they can talk to their children 1233 more easily because they have something to go on and the ice has been broken.
One meeting was memorable because, at the beginning of the meeting, before anything had been done or said, the head took a count of those parents who were against sex education. More than 50 per cent. were against sex education in primary schools. By the time the meeting was over about 88 per cent. were strongly in favour. This shows the value of a public relations exercise when it is carefully and thoroughly carried out.
When the Secretary of State is considering giving guidance, I. hope she will think that this scheme could be more widely adopted. It also has the merit of ensuring that films about which we are doubtful would never have a chance of being shown in schools. For these reasons I commend the scheme to the Secretary of State.
§ Mr. Speaker
Before I call the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) I must tell the House that, according to my calculations, about 180 minutes are left for back benchers. There are 24 hon. Members who wish to speak, and I hope that those who do catch my eye will remember those who want to catch it later.
§ 5.57 p.m.
§ Mr. Frederick Willey (Sunderland, North)
I am delighted to congratulate the last of the maidens. I have grown familiar with the grace which the hon. Member for Merton and Morden (Miss Fookes) has brought to the House, and I am now captivated by her composure and eloquence. I am sure everyone will look forward to hearing her speak again. Rarely have I heard a maiden speech given with such composure and of such persuasive originality.
I will try to respond to what you have said, Mr. Speaker, and be brief. I will confine myself to an aspect of education which my experience as Chairman of the Select Committee has convinced me is of some significance. It is all-important to realise that the Department of Education and Science is not manned by persons with educational experience or even by people who have made a close study of education. Among comparable countries our Department of Education is the only one which is devoid of educationists. I know that we have the Inspectorate, but 1234 the Inspectorate claims to be, and to a large degree is, independent of the Department. The Select Committee made the Inspectorate the subject of the first inquiry. We were anxious to bring it more closely within the Department, and the Department responded to our recommendations, but the Inspectorate remains isolated from the administrative processes of the Department. There is no professional element within the Department.
I am, in general, unenthusiastic about Whitehall amateurism. Be that as it may, in the complex, changing and challenging sphere of education, the absence of educationists in the Department, at the point where decisions are taken, is a basic fundamental weakness. At any rate, the consequences of this should be fully and equivocally recognised.
It is useless to expect leadership from the Department and sound qualitative judgments from Curzon Street when the Department is not equipped to give them—certainly not unless there is recognised machinery for briefing the Department competently and openly.
What is particularly alarming about the administrators is that, bereft of educational experience, they become increasingly allergic to receiving advice, however well informed and authoritative it may be. All of us on the Select Committee felt disturbed about this. We found that the statutory Central Advisory Council, the body responsible for the Crowther, Newsom and Plowden Reports, had expired in, and therefore not met since, 1966.
We found that this was the result of the policy of the Department and that there was no intention of immediately reestablishing the council. The Department was prepared, with remarkably cool effrontery, to go on ignoring the statutory duty imposed on it by Section 4 of the Education Act.
In the same way, we found that the National Advisory Council on the Training and Supply of Teachers had expired in 1965. No explanations or reasons were given and the Department has resisted all pressure from every quarter to reconstitute such a body.
The Select Committee suffered in the same way. We issued a compendious report on student relations, but the House of Commons did not even get the courtesy 1235 of a reply. We found that every representative body involved in teaching had demanded an inquiry into teacher training but that the Department had tenaciously resisted every demand.
For this reason the Select Committee itself, against the advice of the Department, decided to undertake an inquiry into teacher training, although we made it plain that we did not think ourselves a fit and proper body to conduct the inquiry that was needed. I am trying to be objective and not personal. I was encouraged by the alacrity with which the Secretary of State set up the James Committee. I do not want to discourage repentance, however late it may be.
My particular concern is that if we are considering teachers and training, we cannot exclude qualitative considerations. I am not being unduly unsympathetic and I realise the pressures that have been brought about by the shortage of teachers. However, if we are considering teachers, we are considering not only numbers. Any clerk can count up the numbers. We must recognise that sending into schools unsuitable persons, badly trained, can be as catastrophic for the children in those schools as any shortage of teachers.
As well as the numbers of teachers, we must be concerned with the quality of the teaching in our schools. We have plenty of excellent teachers, but we also have some bad teachers. We also have some bad schools, and we even have some bad schools in which the teaching is not only bad but appallingly bad.
Ten years ago I warned that it was futile and hypocritical to talk about comprehensive secondary education unless we had the teachers of the calibre and with the training necessary to staff those schools. The plain fact is that we do not have those teachers. Ten years ago we talked about the point of no return in mathematics teaching. Since then the position has got worse. The National Foundation for Educational Research told us that it was deplorable. We have talked about a crisis in science education. The Royal Society has lost all patience with the Department.
It is not only mathematics and science. In a great many secondary schools, and not only in secondary schools, the teaching of English is lamentable. The Select 1236 Committee's inquiry into the teaching of immigrant children was itself disturbing. It also revealed, rather unexpectedly, shortcomings in the teaching of English language in primary schools.
I have promised to be brief and I will not go further. Unacceptably low standards of teaching in some schools and the number of thoroughly bad teachers in schools present not only a threat to the teaching profession but a national problem. Those who feel disquieted by signs of social malaise could do no better than turn their attention to the standards of teaching.
The Select Committee as a whole was encouraged by the concern of the responsible representative associations to improve the content and quality of education. However, we were discouraged by the frustrating lack of response that they receive from the Department. These associations find that there is not the means for doing what they clearly see should be done.
I therefore beg the Secretary of State to recognise the limitations of her Department, to seek to promote and provide the machinery for a continuous and purposive partnership with all those who are actively engaged in education and deliberately to seek to improve the quality, and not only the amount, of education.
§ 6.7 p.m.
§ Mr. Angus Maude (Stratford-on-Avon)
Like the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) I shall obey your injunction to be brief, Mr. Speaker. It will save time if, at the outset, I say that I agreed with almost everything the right hon. Gentleman said, not least his welcome to the maiden speech of my hon. Friend the Member for Merton and Morden (Miss Fookes).
As the first speaker after her on this side of the House, I echo his congratulations. Like him, I cannot recall hearing a maiden speech so much to the point and delivered with such composure, grace and charm. It was a speech based on personal knowledge and experience and containing great common sense and wisdom. I am sure that my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State has noted her remarks and that we shall wish to hear more from my hon. Friend on future occasions.
1237 It is always difficult in our infrequent education debates to know exactly on which parts of the immense range that education covers to concentrate. There is a temptation to range over the whole wide conspectus and to say too little about everything. I will, therefore, concentrate on a few specific points and leave to the end, in the hope that he will return to his place, my comments on the speech of the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short).
I echo what the right hon. Member for Sunderland, North said about teacher training having been the weak link in our education system for far too long. It was high time that an expert committee was appointed to do a crash job on this. We hope that the James Committee will be the first step in putting right something that has been sabotaging the efforts of not only the reorganisers but of head teachers who are trying to run good schools. I hope that my right hon. Friend will act swiftly and firmly if serious measures of reorganisation are recommended to deal with teacher training, because it is overdue.
We know from the right hon. Member for Newcastle upon Tyne, Central that, had a Labour Government been returned last June, not only would measures have been taken against independent schools, but it was intended finally to deal a death blow to the direct-grant schools as we have known them for so long. It has always been Conservative policy to encourage and protect these schools, and my right hon. Friend proposes to follow this policy, I know, but I urge her that it is necessary to do a little more than simply protect.
The direct-grant schools are in a difficult position. They were the victims of a complete breach of faith by the last Labour Government. They were given to understand that they would not be disadvantaged by inflation, but they were forced to increase their fees without the State help which they had been lead to expect. They need reassurance as well as financial assistance.
We cannot afford to leave open for too many years the question of whether the direct-grant list is ultimately to be reopened. A decision will have to be taken. Great uncertainty is being created in direct-grant schools and a number of other schools as well. As well as the 1238 independent schools, there are voluntary-aided schools and even some maintained selective schools which pass the qualifications of direct-grant status and which might apply for that status if the list were reopened. But they do not know when it will be reopened and what are the chances of security of tenure if they are admitted to it. The risk of being confronted with another Labour Government in which the right hon. Member for Newcastle, Central was Secretary of State—a remote risk to anyone who sees the writing on the wall, but still a risk—might weigh with a school which was deciding whether to sacrifice either its independence or its voluntary-aided status.
But if we believe, as we on this side do, that the direct-grant school system, apart from having provided an enormous number of schools of remarkable quality and achievement, provides a bridge between the independent and the maintained system which is invaluable, leading to a bridgehead which could be widened with profit to the whole educational system, we must soon decide whether to widen that bridgehead by the admission of further schools. There is a number of schools, and the direct-grant movement as a whole, which want to know.
§ Mr. Nigel Spearing (Acton)
In creating this bridge, does the direct-grant movement contemplate any application for a direct-grant comprehensive school?
§ Mr. Maude
The direct-grant movement, as the hon. Gentleman calls it, does not apply for new direct-grant schools. It is up to a school which is independent or aided to apply if and when the Secretary of State reopens the list. It could announce that it intended to go, or was, comprehensive. There is nothing to prevent a comprehensive school from being a direct-grant school. I am sure that my right hon. Friend would confirm that.
The number of educational tasks, from pre-primary schooling to higher education which need more money is almost infinite. There has never been a time—there will never be a time—when those interested in education were satisfied that enough resources were being devoted to it. There is no limit to the things which it would be nice and useful to do. But the willingness of tax payers and rate 1239 payers to provide an indefinite amount of resources for education is strictly limited. We shall always have to look at our priorities with great care, and, most important, see that the money is spent in the best way.
To waste opportunities of getting more private funds, of whatever kind, into education is to weaken the educational structure as a whole. If one cannot get as much money as one wants from public sources, not only should one do nothing to discourage the expenditure of private money on education; one should do everything to encourage the expenditure of more. The quality of education, as a whole and on average, will increase as a result.
It would be extraordinarily helpful—this is not a matter for my right hon. Friend but probably for an Amendment to the Finance Bill—to a number of hard-pressed schools if S.E.T. could be abolished for schools now, rather than waiting until it is abolished as a whole. Independent, direct-grant and other schools should never have been included in that tax. It was a deliberate act of spite by the last Government, and it is time that it was undone.
The raising of the school-leaving age is not a generally popular measure, either among the public or among teachers, who see the difficulties which it will bring. In my constituency, and when addressing audiences of educationalists, I have been asked why the present Government did not go back on this undertaking. But I support my right hon. Friend in her determination to carry this measure through. It was not right or logical to raise the age in 1947. The resources were not there and it caused considerable difficulty. But if it had not been done then, we should still he making excuses now why this was not the time. It is never the time to raise the school-leaving age: there are always immense difficulties.
But the increase to 16 had to come, and it is right that it should come within the next year or two—and that should be the end. We should not be trying to talk in terms of that being just a step towards 17 or 18 or whatever. With the maturity which comes to adolescents earlier than it used to, 16 is the highest age at which we should put the compulsory minimum school-leaving age. After that, it should 1240 become a voluntary matter and further education can take them on.
There is some reason in the fears of teachers and some parents about a 100 per cent. raising of the school-leaving age with no exceptions. There is a small minority of children who, with the best will in the world, will not benefit from an extra year at school and who will make it that much more difficult for schools to provide a useful last year for the 95 per cent. or more who will benefit from it. It would be sensible, even if only for a trial period of a year or two, to say that where not only the parent and the child want the child to leave at 15 but the school and the local education authority—it should not be left simply to the school head; this should be subject to the approval or veto of the L.E.A.—also certify that in their view the child cannot benefit from an additional year at school and may even be turned into a disruptive element in the school, there should be the possibility of exemption for that child, with or without the provision that it should proceed to vocational further education.
I have not spoken to any teacher who does not believe that this would be an improvement and that the 100 per cent. raising of the leaving age, without any exception, will lead to extraordinary difficulties in the case of some difficult children. I hope that my right hon. Friend will look at this matter again.
The right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central is obviously taking an extended tea and will not return to listen to me. He has had some experience of my dealing with his views on heredity and genetics, and he may feel nervous about hearing my views again. In view of your injunction to be brief, Mr. Speaker, I will leave my views on the nonsense—not to put too fine a point on it—which the right hon. Gentleman talked, and leave time to other hon. Members who wish to speak.
§ 6.23 p.m.
§ Mrs. Freda Corbet (Peckham)
May one hon. Lady say to another hon. Lady the hon. Member for Merton and Morden (Miss Fookes), how much she enjoyed her maiden speech? I recall the maiden speech of the right hon. Lady on the Government Front Bench, which was of equally good calibre. The hon. Lady 1241 may well hope that some time in due course she will adorn the Front Bench.
It was very pleasing to hear the comments of my right hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) and of the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude) about the quality of teachers. This point has exercised my mind for a very long time.
I have been chairman of a large comprehensive school in my constituency for a great many years. The school began as three schools in one, two schools on the same campus and one school three-quarters of a mile away. They began with three headmistresses, and subsequently that was found to be unworkable and one headmistress somehow managed to create, in that very difficult situation, a good school ready to go into the fine building it now occupies. The duty of selecting new staff devolves upon one in the course of chairmanship of such a school. This is no light task for the chairman of the governors. It was this that convinced me that the constant chopping and changing and moving about of staff from one school to another ought to be avoided.
It was also apparent that we were having to have far too many young and inexperienced teachers. On one occasion I took the opportunity to ask a very promising looking youngster what sort of benefit she felt that she had derived from her period in the training college, and the answer was, "None". The benefit she had derived was from her school practice, which we all know is very short indeed.
Some London teachers, as well as others, are expressing great concern about the raising of the school-leaving age. I do not wonder at that, but I am sorry for it. It is unfortunate that we have had to wait, since the 1944 Act, for nearly 30 years to get the school-leaving age raised to the very reasonable one of 16. I speak with some experience. I have found, with youngsters who took no interest in what one was trying to teach them, that when they became 15 and were approaching 16 there seemed to be a change, almost a metamorphosis, in the individual. The raising of the school-leaving age to 16 is very necessary. I should hate to feel that there is in existence something which worries 1242 teachers about the raising of the leaving age.
I heard that in one London school a teacher was stabbed by a pupil. I have heard of other abuses, insults and so on. In my earlier teaching days I met that in its full force. I had nothing but an honours degree to teach with. I had no training—not that it matters, it seems, because there was no advantage to be gained. But when one is a young teacher, one never imagines that these things will happen because one has been at school oneself in a class in which the teachers had no trouble and the pupils behaved themselves, which is the normal thing to do. When I was faced in school with youngsters of 13 or 14 and I was to teach them mathematics, naturally I wished to teach mathematics as I had been taught it. They did not take it very well. I had a nasty time.
At an evening institute I met one child whose language was so abusive and foul that until that moment I had never heard the words which she used. I spoke to the head of the institute about it, because I was very young. The head of the institute said, "We keep this institute open to keep the youngsters off the streets, so will you please try to keep her in the class." Somehow I managed to overcome the mischief that she was obviously doing to half-a-dozen other girls sitting around her.
It is no easy job to teach children, to interest them and to keep their attention so as not to bore them, and to give them something practical to do. It is a very difficult job. We need the most highly qualified teachers and, for that reason, I am glad for once that a committee is being set up to investigate these matters. As a rule, I distrust committees. They feel that unless they recommend changes, they will not justify their existence. I took that view strongly in connection with the London Government Act. Other committees have produced recommendations in great tomes which are impossible for anyone to read. I often wonder why we spend years getting together the experience of people who appear not to know about the matters that they are considering.
In a way, this is my maiden speech, and it may be that I have trespassed a little upon the kindness of the Chair in 1243 calling me. But many things need to be said about education. I am a confirmed advocate of the raising of the school-leaving age to 16. I am a confirmed believer in the comprehensive system, and I was glad to hear the figures which the right hon. Lady gave us today. I know that many authorities of her own persuasion are interested in and to a large extent approve of the comprehensive system. The hon. Member for Merton and Morden, who hails from the district where I had my own education, said that she herself would favour the comprehensive idea if it were carried out everywhere as it is in Merton and Morden. I wish only that she had told us how it was carried out there.
During the many years that I spent across the road in County Hall in the days of the London County Council, when we began to implement the comprehensive system from the very beginning of the 1944 Act, we planned to do it over 20 years. Since then, 26 years have elapsed, and the plan still is not complete. There has never been enough money for the buildings essential to the comprehensive system. A comprehensive school should be purpose-built, and it should have good teachers able to handle children who do not want to learn. Such a school should have the maximum possible facilities.
At the same time, I do not believe that there is any need for the large comprehensive school. A late friend of mine ran such a school for many years. In her view, 900 was the optimum number. The late Florence Horsbrugh was persuaded to visit the school, because we wanted to impress her with the merits of the comprehensive system.
If we are to get our comprehensive schools right, we must pay great attention to size, quality of teachers, purpose-built buildings, and especially the raising of the school-leaving age. Then perhaps we might consider whether the age of 11 is the right point at which to make the break. In any event, comprehensive educcation should certainly continue to the age of 18.
I wish the right hon. Lady all success in her difficult task. I feel that she has the interests of education at heart. Though we should all like to see her pro- 1244 moted, I hope that we shall not see her transferred to some other post, continuing the tradition of constant and continual changes of Ministers of Education.
§ 6.35 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Roberts (Cardiff, North)
Like the hon. Member for Peckham (Mrs. Corbet), I have for long been a supporter of comprehensive schools. As a proponent of that system of education, however, I have always had the fear that, in some cases, the children of manual workers would not achieve as good a standard of education under the comprehensive system as they would have done previously had they been selected, however difficult it was to get over the hurdle of selection for grammar school education.
I intend to confine my remarks to the need for some compensatory provision in comprehensive reorganisation where factors operate adversely to the growth and development of schools and the equality of opportunity offered in a local education authority.
The adverse factors operate where, first, there are large areas of social deprivation in the catchment area of a school; secondly, where 11–16 schools are established in a mixed 11–18 situation; thirdly, where a comprehensive school is very small; and, fourthly, where a school is formed on the basis of an existing secondary modern school as opposed to an amalgamation involving a grammar school. On occasions, all these factors operate together. One example is the small 11–16 school derived from a secondary modern school situated in a socially deprived area. Perhaps I might spend a few moments considering the difficulties of such a school.
Firstly, there is the home-school relationship. I have witnessed, as I am sure many other teachers have, the difficulty of establishing parental support for and interest in a parent-teacher association in socially deprived areas where the attitudes of parents to such organisations range from indifference to hostility. In our cities, there are areas which have very high truancy and irregular attendance rates. There is a tendency in such areas for children to leave school immediately that they reach the statutory leaving age. Any proposals to modify 1245 catchment areas to bring in more socially favoured areas almost always meet with the strongest resistance from those sections of the public to be brought into the areas.
I do not take too pessimistic a view, although it is wise to recognise the problem because it is a fundamental challenge to any comprehensive school to influence the community that it serves, to improve the environment of the community and to promote favourable attitudes among the people of the area. A comprehensive school in such a neighbourhood also has to counter those factors which have an adverse effect upon its pupils both in and out of school. The poor environment will not triumph in every case. In many cases, the school will win the battle.
However, it is not only in that connection that there are difficulties. There are curriculum problems which create special difficulties for the 11–16 school. In an area where the adverse factors that I have described are found, there is a comparatively large proportion of slow learners, and the need to set up small class units. There is a comparatively small proportion of pupils of good academic ability, which means that at the other end of the scale there is again a need for small class units. There is also an unfavourable range of subjects offered, and staff expertise is not available over the whole range.
Then there is the problem of setting and team-teaching in the small school, especially in a school which has the additional difficulties of small units at both ends. There is the problem of not being able to organise on a setting basis because there is not a sufficient number of expert staff in each subject.
Where a school has emerged from a secondary modern school, one of the great problems is the introduction of academic values. It can be a slow and difficult process, and children suffer during the transitional period. Staffing presents another problem, because the lack of a sixth form in a school militates against attracting certain highly qualified staff. The value of heads of department posts in these schools is lower, and so less attractive than in the 11–18 schools. Again, in terms of administration, these schools are at a disadvantage because there is usually inadequate provision of 1246 supervisory staff and of pastoral staff, there are no year tutors, or directors of studies, and there is not the same weight of counsellors.
When one comes to the cost per head situation, one sees that these small schools —the 11–16 schools—are again at a considerable disadvantage. There is the difficulty of purchasing any major item of equipment out of the cost-per-head allowance. The situation is more difficult here than in the 11–18 schools, because in the larger schools the purchasing of a major item involves spending a much smaller proportion of the sum available.
In any case, the cost-per-head allowance in many of our secondary schools—and this applies to the primary schools, too—is completely inadequate. At the N.U.T. Conference last week an executive member referred to the effect of the low cost-per-head allowance, and the matter was rightly taken up in the Press and given the publicity that it deserved. He said:Show them the dirty, tattered, dog-eared books children have to use.But what is worse is that whereas these dog-eared, tatty books often contain material which is right for the children, books now being issued in newly organised comprehensive schools are totally unsuited to the children. Children of academic ability in the third and fourth years are being issued with copies of Shakespeare which are abridged readers, suitable for the non-academic child. This has nothing to do with head teachers. If the cost-per-head is small, they can do nothing about it.
§ Mr. Dormand
The selection of books is a matter for the head teacher. The hon. Gentleman seems to be saying that the selection of books is a matter for rather niggardly local education authorities. Would he not agree that the content of the books is a matter for the head teacher?
§ Mr. Roberts
I was referring to the small costs per head allowance which imposes on the head teacher restrictions which he would not want to accept, and because of that he has to issue books which are completely unsuited to the pupils. I am saying that a dog-eared book is bad, but that what is much worse is to issue the wrong book to a child, and to have to do so because sufficient 1247 money is not available to get the proper books. We are spending a considerable amount of money on education, and it seems that we are spoiling the ship for a ha'porth of tar, because a small additional expenditure on books would make a considerable difference to the teaching of our children.
I now propose to say something about the compensatory factors. In these schools there is a need for a more generous pupil-teacher ratio to offset the problems of small groups at both ends of the scale, and to provide a wider range of subjects. There is a need for special provision of heads of department allowances so that these schools can compete effectively with the larger 11–18 schools. There is a need for special administrative staff to be employed in these schools. There is a need for school counsellors, for directors of studies, and for other people. There is a need for a more generous cost-per-head allowance for education and equipment.
These measures are urgently needed, particularly during the building-up period of a newly reorganised comprehensive school. It is not good enough to say, "Let us wait until the school is a large one; let us wait until a school in a deprived position has established a sixth form", because the fact is that when ultimately a sixth form is established many of these difficulties are overcome. The truth is that it is a matter of urgency, because the pupils are in the schools now.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. In rather under an hour we have had five speeches. I hope that we shall be able to continue at this rate. Mr. Geoffrey Rhodes.
§ 6.46 p.m.
§ Mr. Geoffrey Rhodes (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East)
I hope that the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Michael Roberts) will forgive me if I do not follow him in the points that he made, interesting though they were.
I should like to refer briefly to some of the remarks of the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude). I regret having to criticise the hon. Gentleman's speech when I do not think he is present in the Chamber but perhaps he, too, has gone out for an elongated tea.
§ Mr. Rhodes
I am sorry that I have to criticise the hon. Gentleman in his absence, but I thought that the class character of his speech was appalling in its conception. I bet my bottom dollar that children from deprived working-class homes would comprise 90 per cent. of those dismissed as being found unsuitable to continue for a further year when the school-leaving age is raised. I suppose the hon. Gentleman would effect an economic saving which could be used to subsidise what he was clearly calling for from his right hon. Friend, the further provision of direct-grant schools, which particularly help middle-class people. That is redistribution in reverse, and it fits in well with Conservative political philosophy.
The hon. Gentleman was slightly intellectually arrogant in referring to some of the remarks of my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short) as nonsense, because some of the genetic theories advanced by my right hon. Friend are supported by academics and sociologists far more distinguished in the subject than is the hon. Gentleman. Whether the ideas are right or wrong can perhaps be debated, but they are not nonsense. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman is not here to enjoy my speech, because I intend to use the same theories and apply them to higher education.
The most rapidly expansive sector of our system of education is higher education. In 1970–71 there were 443,000 full-time students in universities, colleges of education and colleges of technology doing advanced work. That was a doubling of the number attending such courses during the 'sixties, and many distinguished people have forecast that because of the pressures of highly qualified young people leaving school it is likely that during the 1970s the doubling of numbers will occur again.
Furthermore, higher education is increasing its share of the rapidly expanding education budget, and some competent authorities have suggested that by 1980 the total cost of higher education will be up to about £1,000 million a year. The question which I want to ask the House this evening, and particularly to 1249 ask the right hon. Lady and her Government colleagues, is what they feel about this, whether we are, at 18-plus, creating greater equality of educational opportunities in this process, or whether we are tending still to reinforce the social divisions which already exist in our society.
The social segregation and inequality of opportunity which we have rightly been trying to get rid of, in part by the abolition of the archaic 11-plus selection system, has not, in my view, disappeared at the 18-plus stage. For 10 years before I came to the House I taught continually in all the different types of stratified institutions in the higher education system.
The Crowther Report in 1959 and the Robbins Report in 1963 both confirmed that in relation to university entrance the position of the manual worker's child compared with that of the non-manual worker's child had not changed since 1928; in fact, the Robbins Report revealed an enormous wastage of talented and intelligent children from working-class families who never see the inside of a university or even an advanced college.
For the benefit of the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon who is interested in genetics, I would point out that we are not talking about working-class children who are seemingly less intelligent; we are talking about children of high intelligence from working-class families who are entering universities at only about half the rate of children of the same band of intelligence from middle-class families. This nation can no longer afford to fritter away the highly talented part of our working-class families who do not go on to higher education.
Our present system of higher education is hierarchical, with various institutions ranking unequally in status, prestige, facilities and attractiveness to students—from Oxbridge to Redbrick; Redbrick to polytechnic; polytechnic to college of education, down to the lowest level of part-time education, in the technical college. I have taught in the lot. Incidentally, the majority of school leavers in the working-class part of my constituency do not go to any kind of institution after they leave school. In our discussions about higher education we pay far too little attention to this enor- 1250 mous group of people. No fewer than 64 per cent. of the working population of the United Kingdom are manual working-class people, but only 28 per cent. of entrants to university are from such families. Forty-four per cent. of university students are from that 14 per cent. of homes where the parents are engaged in managerial, administrative and professional work. Only when we come to the part-time courses—and I stress "part-time"—in colleges of further education do we find a majority of students whose fathers are manual workers. That is a shocking state of affairs to exist in the 1970's.
What is true of social class is equally true of the regions. My right hon. Friend has referred to this fact. The North of England is bottom of the league in terms of the proportion of its offspring going into higher education, especially universities. It is also a region with a high proportion of manual-worker parents.
The present system is not only socially devisive; it also has far too many watertight, rigid compartments. There is virtually no transfer between different institutions of higher and further education, in terms of students or staff, or between so-called "academic" and "vocational" education, or between full-time and part-time education. These happen to be the harsh facts of life in this so called binary system of higher education which we preach. Some of us have a different view of it.
The fundamental difference between the universities on the one hand and the various other higher education colleges on the other is not so much in the courses provided; that is a myth. Many courses are common to both sectors, sometimes with identical syllabuses. The real difference is in the profound inequality of the conditions under which the courses are conducted and studied. There is unequal treatment between students, even when they are doing the same degree courses in different kinds of institution.
Let us consider the simple question of the place where a student lives. That is a basic human need. The Robbins Report recommended that 66 per cent. of the new places required in the 1960's should be on a residential basis. I am not going to argue whether or not I support that view, but that is what the Robbins Report recommended. In the 1251 event between 1962 and 1969, the universities managed this to the extent of 40 per cent; colleges of education, 12 per cent; and advanced full-time further education colleges, 10 per cent. Facility-wise, the gap between the universities and the rest is widening.
Next, let us consider the question of library provision. I shall not compare universities with the bottom layer of the non-university sector; I shall compare them with polytechnics, supposedly in the top layer of the non-university sector. The Libraries Association has revealed that when we compare universities with polytechnics the universities have an expenditure per student on books three times greater than in polytechnics. Furthermore, there are five times as many library staff per 1,000 students in universities as there are in polytechnics. The ratio is even worse in the non-polytechnic parts of the higher education system, outside universities.
A full-time advanced student—not somebody doing a low-level course—in further education outside university has four times as much chance of failing his finals as does a university student, even when they are both doing the same course. The university student is three times as likely to have academic and personal supervision during his undergraduate career. The staff-student ratio shows an enormous advantage for the university student.
Between universities and other colleges there is precious little sharing of libraries, staff rooms, lecture rooms, students' union facilities, sports grounds, common rooms, refectories, halls of residence, and so on. When my right hon. Friend the Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland) was Secretary of State he hoped that these barriers would break down. I said at the time in the House, "Hope springs external", but that I did not expect it to happen; nor has it. Even though these facilities in universities lie cheek by jowl with those of other higher educational colleges—on the same campus—the facilities are rarely shared. Leaving aside all social considerations, I regard this as a ridiculous waste of costly resources. It arises not only because of prejudice, snobbery, inertia, or the inconvenience of sharing; it arises because it is specifically protected and perpetuated by the separate system 1252 of finance and administration of each side of this magic binary line.
The fundamental administrative obstacle to ending this binary waste and the social inequality that it perpetuates is to be found in the dual structure of D.E.S./U.G.C. on the one side and the general rate support grant, L.E.A. rate-borne and pooled expenditure on the other.
I want to give an illustration from Newcastle-upon-Tyne. I am sorry that my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central, is not present, because I know that he would agree with much of what I am saying. The hon. Member for Brierly Hill (Mr. Montgomery), who used to represent the constituency of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East, who is here, will appreciate very much what I am saying. In Newcastle-upon-Tyne we have a university next door to a polytechnic. In effect, both are on the same educational precinct site. Close by we have a college of further education, and a college of education. They are grouped together geographically but not in any other way. In the east end of the city, in my constituency, we have a large college of education with halls of residence and, next door, a large hall of residence of the university, known as Henderson Hall. Between them there is a wall—and that wall is not merely physical; it is academic, psychological and social—and it is wrong.
Should there be this duplication of largely under-utilised sports facilities? Should there be this duplication of similar disciplines and courses, and similar departments of study? Should there be this duplication of refreshment facilities, with all the initial capital expenditure needs of separate institutions? Should there be this duplication of unequally distributed staff? I suggest that this is a waste of scarce human and material resources. With proper cost-effective planning we could have had increased facilities in toto, with no increase in cost. We could have broken down the barriers between institutions doing similar advanced work. We did not do it largely because of the slavish adoption of the binary system, separate but by no means equal, whatever the advocates of the system suggest.
In Newcastle-upon-Tyne, what we needed then, and what we need now, is 1253 something which could be called a poly-versity, a comprehensive university. Just as the city has good comprehensive schools, we need in the new TynesideWearside metropolitan authority—I have not consulted my right hon. Friend the Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) about this, but he is involved, too—a comprehensive university in which we could pool under one common administrative structure the colleges of technology, the colleges of education, the colleges of further education, the College of Marine Technology, the two polytechnics and the university, running them through a regional higher education authority on a federated basis, with direct responsibility nationally to the Government.
I believe that this would be a national, even an international, institution, but it would have a strong regional bias in its research and servicing, and it could help to develop the new regional technologies which, for other reasons, we urgently need. It could aid industrial growth in the area, and its social research facilities—which also are now duplicated between the polytechnics and the university—could be co-ordinated for valuable social research for the community. It could break down many of the social and communication barriers which undermine so much of our industrial progress. It would certainly make far more economic use of the existing resources of the city, and it could simplify considerably the replanning of the city centre.
This proposal, of course, is controversial. It will raise the wrath of, and send wild with anger, those who have a strong and privileged position in the present set-up, but it so happens that what I have suggested is not the crackpot scheme of one Member of Parliament but it is directly in line with current agreed policy statements by the National Union of Teachers, the National Union of Students and many leading academics in the university world. I believe that the creation of comprehensive universities of this kind throughout the country, and especially in the big cities, in the coming decade would iron out one of the major causes of gross inequality of opportunity in our society. That should be our aim.
The House will have noted that I have not made a party-political speech. My purpose has been to make a simple but 1254 fundamental point. I want to know what the present Government's policy is regarding the dichotomy between the university sector and the rest. What is their philosophy on the binary system? Do they propose to change it? Unless they do change it, a great deal of the equality of opportunity which we have achieved by getting rid of the 11-plus will be perpetuated by the continuation of the 18-plus.
§ 7.3 p.m.
§ Mr. Fergus Montgomery (Brierley Hill)
I hope that the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Rhodes) will forgive me if I do not comment closely on his argument. As he reminded us, I was his predecessor in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East. He defeated me in 1964. I did not feel very well towards him at that time, but I suppose, on reflection, that I should be grateful to him, because it is much more comfortable to have to defend a majority of 15,000 in Brierley Hill than it was to defend a majority of 98 in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East.
I add my tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Merton and Morden (Miss Fookes), who made an extremely effective and able maiden speech. As she said, she had been chided by certain political correspondents for the long delay in making her maiden speech, but the waiting was well worthwhile. The sincerity and humour which she brought into what she had to say are qualities which should make Merton and Morden glad and proud that they have her to represent them in this House.
It has been an interesting debate. I am sorry that the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short) is not here at the moment. While I represented Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East, he was one of my constituents. I do not say that he ever voted for me, but I was none the less his Member for five years. I thought that we had from the right hon. Gentleman the usual sort of diatribe which we hear from him in education debates, with the usual attack on the Conservative Party. I contrast his speech with that of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, who was very fair and who paid tribute to the previous Government where praise was due.
1255 I can only describe the Motion as a load of old codswallop. It is typical of the Opposition. I am always amazed at their audacity. They try to give the impression, now that we have had a General Election and they have been swept out of office, that they have all been through a bath of powerful detergent and have come out whiter than white. Their record in office does not bear close inspection, and for them to talk about lack of equal educational opportunity under this Government is sheer hypocrisy.
In 1964, the Labour election manifesto—this was the election at which they first won power—stated:In education we are faced today with a chronic shortage of teachers, with oversize classes, and with far too many scandalous outdated buildings.When the Conservative Government took over on 18th June, 1970, we found that we were still short of teachers, the average size of primary school classes was no smaller than it had been in 1964 when Labour took office and there was a serious situation in school building, and this because of the cuts imposed by the Labour Government during their term of office.
§ Mr. Montgomery
It is no good the hon. Gentleman shaking his head. He will remember, as I do, the way in which, in the aftermath of devaluation, the axe was used by the Labour Government on education expenditure. Today, we are still suffering from the Socialist cuts in the school building programme.
§ Mr. Armstrong
The truth of the matter—we ought to acknowledge it on both sides—is that, since the war, education has continued to enjoy a higher proportion of the gross national products under all Governments. When the hon. Gentleman talks about savage cuts, I remind him that expenditure on education under the Labour Government went up from £1,400 million to over £2,000 million, and for the first time in Britain's history we spent more on educating our children than on defence, much as that offends the Tories.
§ Mr. Montgomery
We have all heard that old chestnut before. Of course, Labour spent more on education than 1256 on defence, since they drastically cut the defence budget. When he speaks of rising expenditure on education under the Labour Government, however, the hon. Gentleman neglects to take into account that the school population itself increased during that period. To keep education at the same level of priorities, national education expenditure should have gone up more when Labour was in power.
We are still suffering, also, from the Socialist dogmatic approach to secondary reorganisation. I well remember, as others do, the Committee stage of the Education Bill just prior to the election, when the Labour Government's aim was to have nothing but comprehensive education in the secondary sector. I remember, also, the terrible mess which right hon. and hon. Members opposite got themselves into during that Committee stage.
We made absolutely clear throughout the debates then that our attitude was that local education authorities should be the ones to decide the type of secondary education which they should have in their areas. This was the pledge which we gave at the General Election, and one of my right hon. Friend's first actions on taking office was to issue Circular 10/70 in pursuance of it. This, too, was attacked by the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central, who obviously is of the opinion that the man in Whitehall knows best.
The Opposition stand indicted because of their obsession with secondary reorganisation instead of devoting their attention, when they had power to do something about it, to the primary sector of education. I do not know whether the Labour Party really believes that educational opportunity is to be considered only at the secondary level, but that seems to be the implication of the Motion. The primary schools are a vital part of the system. Education is like a pyramid, the primary school is the base of that pyramid, and we do far more to provide equal educational opportunity for our children if we try to ensure that every child has a fair deal at the primary level.
During the election campaign, I received tremendous support at meetings when I stated that the Conservative Party 1257 pledged itself to concentrate more help on the primary sector. I believe that the vast majority of people have felt that primary education for far too long has been the Cinderella of our education system. The right hon. Gentleman gave the game away in his speech. I am delighted that in the 1972–73 building programme, the first for which my right hon. Friend is responsible, there are over 400 projects for replacement of our old primary schools. This will cost about £38½ million, more than twice the figure for the previous year. That will be a real start to the daunting task of replacing or improving the 6,000-plus primary schools built before 1903. By replacing these old schools we are doing a great deal to help children in the primary sector. It makes a great deal of difference to children when they are taught in pleasant surroundings.
But the quality of the teaching is far more important than the school buildings. The primary school I went to was a very old building. I think that my father had been there, and it was anything but new when he was a pupil. When I left the school to go to the grammar school, it was immediately condemned—not that I think that my departure had anything to do with that. It was in what the right hon. Gentleman would undoubtedly refer to as a deprived area. I cannot understand why I do not have the fixations and phobias that I am supposed to have, to judge by what hon. Members opposite say, as a result of living in such an area and going to a school like that. It did not have a playground, and we had to play in the street. Each teacher took two classes. When I myself began to teach, I marvelled at the way in which they had coped, because it took me all my time to manage one class. But although it was a deplorable building I believe that I got an excellent education there, thanks to the devotion of the teachers who taught me.
I hope that my right hon. Friend will press on with the work of reducing the size of classes, particularly in the primary sector. I congratulate her on the setting up of the Committee of Inquiry into the training of teachers. We should be concerned not just with the quantity of teachers but also with their quality.
1258 I agree with a great deal of what the hon. Member for Peckham (Mrs. Corbet) said. I agree that we should have purpose-built comprehensive schools if we are to have comprehensive schools, and I agreed with her when she talked about the difficulties that the teachers must face. She talked about her problem as a young teacher when she had to teach maths to a group of boys. As a very young teacher I once had to teach a group of 14-year-old girls in a Scripture lesson, and the subject was the virgin birth. If she found it very difficult teaching senior boys maths at that time, I can only tell her that it was not unlike the task I had then.
Teachers do an extremely valuable job, and it is important that we attract the very best people into the profession. I have always felt on reflection on my own days in a training college that not enough time was devoted to practical teaching experience. It is no good piling on more and more academic pressure if the teacher does not have the ability to get that knowledge across to the class when he begins to teach.
§ Mr. R. B. Cant (Stoke-on-Trent, Central)
Is not the hon. Gentleman destroying his own argument? There is much common ground in education. We can agree that we want better schools and better teachers for the primary section. What many of us are concerned about is that so many primary schools under the Conservative system become merely intellectual sausage machines, and that the quality of teaching cannot emerge in its fullness because of the 11-plus examination.
§ Mr. Montgomery
I do not quite follow the hon. Gentleman's argument. I was trying to say that perhaps we place too much stress on academic learning in our colleges of education. There must be a certain amount of it, but I should like students to spend far more time doing more teaching practice, getting more experience in the classrooms. In this way they can find out whether they have the ability to teach, and they can perhaps still choose another profession. It is vital that people going to our schools to teach should have as much practical experience during their days at a college of education as possible.
1259 Time is pressing, and there have been repeated pleas from the Chair that we should keep our speeches as brief as possible.
My party has a great deal to be proud of in education. I believe that at the end of this Parliament we shall have even more to be proud of, because I am convinced that my right hon. Friend will be an excellent Secretary of State for Education and Science. She brings to her job great intellect and good, sound common sense. She has proved by the way she has started in her job that she has her priorities right. I hope that when the vote is taken tonight the House will decisively reject the hypocritical Motion of the party opposite.
§ The Clerk at the Table informed the House of the unavoidable absence of Mr. SPEAKER.
§ Whereupon Sir ROBERT GRANT-FERRIS, The CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS, took the Chair as DEPUTY SPEAKER, pursuant to the Standing Order.
§ 7.16 p.m.
§ Mr. John Pardoe (Cornwall, North)
Before coming to the Motion and the Amendment, I should like briefly to comment on two points, one that the right hon. Lady the Secretary of State raised in her speech and one that I wish she had raised but did not.
She made a short statement about the salaries situation which missed the point. I had better immediately state my interest in, and connection with, the National Association of Schoolmasters, of which the right hon. Lady is already aware. I should like to put four points to her on the salaries question.
First, since the Burnham Committee reached deadlock on teachers' salaries there has been, in the eyes of teachers, and I think of the rest of us, a complete collapse of the Government's incomes policy, particularly in the private sector, which has stolen and run away with whatever rationale and credibility the Government ever had on their incomes policy.
Second, the right hon. Lady said that it was open to the teachers to go to arbitration. That is so. But although it may be quite simple for arbitrators to decide in the arbitration machinery be- 1260 tween two global sums—a compromise can usually be reached—it is extremely difficult to argue a compromise between two opposing and very different structures. It is an extremely complex issue, far more complex than the issues of the electricity workers' pay claim with which the Wilberforce Committee had to deal. I do not believe that arbitration can possibly get to the bottom of it.
Third, the unfortunate fact we must recognise is that the Teachers' Panel is not united on what it wants the arbitrators to talk about or abitrate on. Only one case can be put in arbitration, and that case will have to be put by the Teachers' Panel formally and officially. It is probably true that a majority of teachers, comprising those who support the non-N.U.T. side of the Teachers' Panel and a minority within the N.U.T. who do not support the executive, would prefer to talk about structure than about the basic scale. It is wrong that the only case that will be put on behalf of the teachers in the negotiations will be on the basic scale and not about structure. The other organisations should be able to put their rather sophisticated case.
That leads up to my fourth point, that there is a desperate need, and has been for many years, for a full independent inquiry into teachers' pay. It is the only way in which the whole business of structure can be satisfactorily settled. I believe that the right hon. Lady has the power to impose it in the present situation. Certainly I believe that the Secretary of State for Employment has that power. Such an inquiry has already been offered to the teachers by the chairman of the local authorities' panel. At the end of his submission at the first meeting when he put forward the employers' plan, he said that he would be prepared to have that plan submitted to any kind of inquiry that the teachers liked. That was an offer of any sort of inquiry which the teachers wanted.
The right hon. Lady did not mention the point about the Teachers' Council. This is an extraordinary story which has been going on for a long time. A report of the Working Party, which consisted of representatives of 17 bodies in the field, and which was unanimous, was received by the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short) 1261 on 28th January, 1970. On 16th February, 1970, he asked the 29 relevant bodies for their views, to be given to him as soon as practicable. On 3rd March, 1970, he received the first of these submissions. On 26th January last, the right hon. Lady received the last of the submissions which have been sent to her, but two are still to come and it is no secret which they are, following a reply which she gave to me on 22nd February. They are those of the N.U.T. and the A.T.T.I. I asked her on 22nd February what action she had taken to obtain their views. She replied:None. The N.U.T. is to discuss the matter at its annual conference in April."—OFFICIAL REPORT, 22nd February, 1971; Vol. 812, c. 60.]There was a clear indication—at least an implication—that, in her view, the N.U.T. would discuss it and arrive at some decision. I hope we may hear tonight that there has been a result following those discussions and what action she intends to take.
I welcome the Motion in the terms in which it is expressed. I am glad that the Labour Party has reverted to what I used to think was its basic belief—in equality. I trust that the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central read the article in the Sunday Times of 4th April by the right hon. Member for Grimsby (Mr. Crosland) and the Fabian pamphlet, by Gyfford and Haseler, "Social Democracy: beyond revisionism". It is clear that, under the Labour Government—whatever he may say in speech or Motion today—only moderate progress was made towards reducing the major inequalities with which Socialists have been traditionally concerned. The right hon. Member for Grimsby wrote in his article:I have long been locked in conflict with the middle-class element of the Left which shows an elitist and even condescending attitude to the wants and aspirations of the ordinary people.I welcome this reversion to good sense. It is not in any sense a reversion to Socialism—pace the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude)—because, of course, it was the revolution of 1789 and not that of 1917 that was the more illustrious and relevant revolution.
I believe that it is legitimate for education policy to be designed with equality in mind—indeed, to have it in the fore- 1262 front of one's mind. Although I enjoyed the speech of the hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon—what I might call his "guided tour of the Tory soul"—I entirely disagree with almost everything he said.
§ Mr. Pardoe
The hon. Gentleman will not find that astonishing. Where I disagree with the right hon. Member for Newcastle-on-Tyne, Central is in his attitude to the priorities for primary schools. He first of all disagreed with any priority being given to primary schools as such and then assumed, quite falsely, that such priority has been given. I challenge the assumption which seems to be made on both Front Benches that a genuine priority has been given by the Government to primary schools. I only wish it had. The right hon. Lady, at the annual conference of the Association of Education Committees, on 28th October, said:I am making no promises now, but my hope is that over a period of five years we shall be in sight of the elimination of the primary schools built in the 19th century.Like many others, I pricked up my ears at that impossibly optimistic dream, and I asked one or two questions about how it would apply. I received a letter from the noble Lord, Lord Belstead, who said:This statement does not of course constitute a commitment, but it makes clear the intention to proceed as fast as possible with the improvement of old primary schools.When is a commitment not a commitment? I understand that the figures in the Department were wrong—I accept that reason, given by the right hon. Lady. What does the commitment add up to? I took the matter up further and put down a Question about the situation in Cornwall and how her statement would apply there. I received an answer from the Under-Secretary of State on 8th March. He said:There are about 170 19th century primary schools in Cornwall of which about 60 are likely to be closed and another 60 improved by minor works, leaving about 50 to be replaced or substantially improved in major building programmes."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 8th March 1971; Vol. 813, c. 48.]What the commitment really adds up to is to close down and not replace more than one-third of the 19th century primary schools in a mainly rural county. I do not believe that that was any part of the 1263 Tory manifesto. I never heard any commitment to close down all these village schools—indeed, precisely the opposite was being said by Conservative candidates in the West Country.
This means that there will be a massive extension of school transport and that a very large number of young children will have to spend a lot more time travelling to school. It is bad enough for children of 8, 9 or 10 years of age, but what about the five-year-olds having to get up in the early, dark hours of the morning and to spend an hour or an hour-and-a-half in travelling to school and home again in the evening? Already the Cornwall County Council spends about £500,000 a year of its education budget shuttling kids backwards and forwards.
I do not believe that the policy of closing down village schools is right, and I shall oppose it tooth and nail. The right hon. Lady has been proud of getting the money to replace unsatisfactory buildings, but that is no more than would have been needed to provide what Jennie Lee called "benches for bottoms" if there had not been a fall in primary population.
The Government's White Paper on Public Expenditure shows the situation in black and white. Although percentages are not quoted there, with my own slide rule I have come up with some extraordinary answers. In the five-year programme of current expenditure, primary schools are to get an increase of 13½ per cent. as against the increase of 31 per cent. for secondary schools. That does not look much like high priority for primary schools, although I recognise that the numbers of children in primary schools will not increase by more than 3 to 4 per cent. on the basic estimate.
I take up here a point raised by the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Rhodes) concerning the extraordinary priority being given to the universities within these figures. The current expenditure on the universities is to increase by 35 per cent. over the period, whereas, on other forms of further education—the only further education which most ordinary kids will get—the increase is to be only 9½ per cent., being a combination of current and capital expenditure. Whereas, for the schools, expenditure will rise by 15.6 per cent., and for 1264 universities by 31 per cent., the expenditure for all other forms of further education will rise by a derisory and shameful 6.3 per cent.
Our universities are obstinately and confoundedly middle-class institutions. What we are doing is taking money in tax out of the pockets of the poorer people and putting it into the pockets of the rich kids in order to provide them with an elitist university education. This is true, as one can see from the figures. In 1926, about 25 per cent. of all university students were children of manual working class parents; still, in the 1960s, when the Robbins Commission made its survey, 25 per cent. of all students at universities were the children of manual working class parents; by 1980, projecting the figures forward, it will still be 25 per cent. Although, statistically, it is true to say that such parents are a smaller proportion of the total population than in 1926, the basic thesis is still true—that we are spending too much on the universities and far too little on the other opportunities for further education. Within the present building programme, we are allocating to 44 universities £25 million and to 30 polytechnics only £7 million. I do not believe that these are the right priorities. Even if we had the priorities right, the total global sum is not enough, as Sir William Alexander has pointed out.
The right hon. Lady used to be concerned about commitments running ahead of resources, and I remember her speeches in opposition, particularly when she quoted the calculations made by Dr. 011erenshaw when she said that the then Labour Government were not providing enough resources to meet commitments. I believe that she is doing precisely the same thing.
I hope that she will resist the temptation to shut up about this, at least within the Cabinet if not publicly, because silence on this point is not good for education. Her silence on this point will lead the Treasury to believe that all is well. Her silence will also ensure that the education service does not concentrate on the problems of priorities within education expenditure.
I should like finally to give her a point which she may not have come upon, because it is in a recently published book 1265 by an author who agrees with her philosophical bent, Professor West, in "Education and the State". He makes what is an extraordinarily condemning calculation for all of us who are involved in education—that in 1833 we were spending .8 per cent. of our net national income on the education of children below 11 years and in 1965 we had so increased the priorities that we were spending on children below the age of 11 .86 per cent. of our net national income. Whoopee! What a record over all these years!
§ 7.31 p.m.
§ Mr. William Shelton (Clapham)
I will confine my remarks to discussing equality of opportunity, which is so belaboured in the Motion, and I hope that the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) will forgive me if I do not comment on what he said. I want to follow the train of thought so clearly expressed by my hon. Friend the Member for Brierly Hill (Mr. Montgomery).
In the years during which I have been connected with education, I have always been extremely impressed by the great dedication and sincerity of all those with whom I have come into contact, not only teachers and civil servants, but councillors and local education authorities, my ex-colleagues on the Inner London Education Authority and hon. and right hon. Gentlemen. Listening to the debate as a newcomer to the House, I have been impressed by many contributions from both sides.
In countless discussions with members of the Labour Party in local education authorities and seminars, I have found to my surprise again and again a concentration of their minds more on the structure than on the content of education, more on the form and on the organisation and how it happens rather than on what happens and the results of what happens. This is best exemplified by the furore over the circular with which in my humble way I have entirely agreed, Circular 10/70, and the remarks of the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short) today. We have all seen many examples of this concentration, this obsession, to use a word already used today, with the structure of education.
This is the first education debate of this Session and again we have an Opposition Motion, which is a public expression of 1266 how the Opposition feel about the way in which the Government are running the education service, which talks about structure. It does not mention some grave problems which we know to exist in our education service and which have been mentioned today by hon. Members on both sides of the House—the problems of small schools, classes which are too large, the problems of teacher-training and of the tremendous financial appetite shown by further and higher education which will continue to grow over the coming years. In the Motion all that has been subordinated to the social philosophy of the Labour Party.
We all accept the necessity of moving as soon as we can to equality of opportunity in education, but I do not believe at present that structure is the only key, or the primary key, to achieving that. Most educationists will agree about the importance of primary education. Nowadays that seems to be generally accepted. How can we have equality of opportunity when 30 per cent. of the primary schools in London and the South-East were built before 1903, when well over 50 per cent. of the primary schools in London have mobile classrooms in their playgrounds, even though those playgrounds are not large enough anyway, when they do not reach the minimum standards laid down and yet have a mobile classroom "plonked" in their centre?
An interesting survey was carried out last year by the Wandsworth Teachers Association. It was an unbiased survey and I accept its results. It said that one-third of the schools in Wandsworth were "not satisfactory by any standards." It spoke of leaking classrooms and leaking staffrooms, of classes in cloakrooms and corridors. It spoke of the need for 450 extra classrooms in Wandsworth this year in order to bring classes down to 35 pupils.
It is not the shortage of teachers any more which is keeping up the size of classes but the shortage of physical stock. It was the obsession of the Labour Government, to use the word again, with secondary reorganisation that starved many of the primary schools of money which they badly needed. I warmly welcome the measures taken by my right hon. Friend to allocate extra money to the primary schools. I am sure that that will do more for equality of opportunity than 1267 much of the secondary reorganistion which was forced through.
It is symptomatic of the great interest in organisation and in streaming and setting and placing shown by many educationists in the Labour Party that they have a comparative lack of interest in examinations and examination results and in the levels of literacy about which many of us are worried. They have their priorities wrong. Despite their sincere beliefs and their sincere desire to achieve equality of opportunity, they are not going about getting it in the best way. I welcome my right hon. Friend's decision to set up the James Committee of Inquiry into Teacher Training. We must accept that variations of effectiveness in teaching today depend more on the capacity of the teacher, on the size of the class, on the physical environment of the classroom, on resources, and not so much on the structure of the overall education system.
It would be a brave person who would predict the structure of secondary organisation over the next generation. We are in a period of change in education. Opinions are changing, objectives are changing, and values are changing. Countries which have nothing but comprehensives, such as the United States or Russia—and I was educated partly in the United States—are beginning to believe that a small percentage of the brightest pupils ought to develop their potential to its fullest by receiving special education, in the same way that in this country a small percentage of the less bright pupils receive special education, as educationally subnormal pupils should.
We are all aware of some of the problems emerging from the giant comprehensives. I was interested in the speech made by the hon. Lady the Member for Peckham (Mrs. Corbet) who said that she thought that schools should not be larger than 900 pupils. In London, to generate an adequate sixth form of 120 pupils in an all-through comprehensive, there would have to be a school with 1,500 to 1,800 pupils.
Perhaps the structure of education over the next 15 years will move towards the middle-school system, towards the sixth-form college, towards the campus system —I honestly do not know. I do not believe that it will move towards all- 1268 through, giant neighbourhood comprehensives throughout the country. My right hon. Friend is going about obtaining equality of opportunity in education the right way. It is a matter of repairing some of the flaws in our present educational system, and these must have priority.
§ 7.43 p.m.
§ Mr. David Clark (Colne Valley)
We have had a fairly wide-ranging debate, rightly so because education is open-ended not only in content but, increasingly, in age. Any educational system to a certain extent mirrors its creators and the present system mirrors the people who created it. I am not saying that the Butler Act on which we base our system of education is bad. It was a great step forward, but it has become a little too rigid. It has reached the state where the system favours the child from the middle-class home, from suburbia. The further the child moves from that image the more difficult it is for it to receive an education.
While I see the dangers here, what worries me is that there are certain sentiments being echoed by certain hon. Members opposite that I can only describe as elitist. This worries me because I do not believe that we can have a democratic society, and I do not just mean a parliamentary democratic society, unless we have a democratic educational system. All this talk about super-schools for about 5 per cent. of our bright children when we send the remainder to comprehensive schools will be a great danger in the years ahead.
The greatest obstacle and disadvantage in our present system is that it militates against the children who divert furthest from this middle-class image. I should like to widen the debate a little, still centring it on the point of equality, and touch on certain matters upon which we have to do a lot of serious thinking.
Only this week I had a letter from one of my constituents telling a rather distressing tale which I find crops up not frequently but regularly. It is of a disabled child, beyond the age of five, who has always been promised that when he was five he could go to school like all the other children. Yet the local education authority says, "We may be able to get him in next year assuming that no 1269 one else wants to take up the place from the neighbouring authority." As it happened the local education authority, after pressure from me, has been most co-operative. Surely there is something wrong with the system when a Member of Parliament has to intervene in a case like this. I know that it is not an isolated case. Our present system does not cater for the disabled, the abnormal child in the way that it should.
Secondly, the present system militates against the child or young person who has had an unconventional background. I know this from experience. If a person strays from the straight-and-narrow path in education he is in great difficulty. I remember a few years ago trying to get a man of 30 registered for a course in the City of Manchester. He had tried the pervious year and been turned down. I went with him and argued with the further education officer and eventually he was accepted—after the greatest difficulty. That man went to university, got a second-class honours degree and is now lecturing in a college of further education.
I know from personal experience that problems like this occur time and again. We have to think very carefully about our attitudes towards young people who, for one reason or other, have missed the first stage in education and wish to return to the system. Evening classes are full of such people. It is difficult to get back into the mainstream. The Open University is a tremendous step forward but we have only to look at the applications to the residential colleges operating at the moment to realise that we are not doing enough for this sort of person.
At the university where I lectured we had an arrangement whereby people could come from the residential colleges and enter straight into the second year of our university course. These people invariably did superbly well. They added to the course and were much better students on the whole than those who had come straight from school. It would be a great help if we could persuade certain other universities to adopt this approach.
The majority of young people do not go to university. The figures have been quoted. The majority of people from working-class homes go into further edu- 1270 cation and most of them go into industry if they do not receive any further education. When they are 18 they often receive no further education. This is worrying because research has shown that there is less chance for a young person entering industry today to reach either a management or supervisory position than was the case 30 years ago. This may seem strange but it is quite logical. Every young person wants to become a manager and there are two ways to do it—either through the promotional ladder or through educational qualifications.
In the past it was length of service that was important but now it is the educational qualifications possessed by a man, the pieces of paper, that are his passport to a job. We are neglecting further education in particular and management education in general. The right hon. Lady had before her last June a report on management education in the seventies—the Rose Report. This said that we were likely to see an increase in demand for management education of at least double or treble by the mid-70s. It would be useful if we could have some comment on the attitude of the Government towards management, supervisory and industrial education. It is this type of education which is so important to the young person after he has left school.
Many young people leave school for various reasons and would like to re-enter the education system, but there are not places for them. This would be a way in which they could catch up on something which they missed out on earlier. Until this happens, industry will miss many capable young people and the State will lose their great potential. Perhaps most important the young people will lose something which we, as a State, owe them. The distinction between a civilised nation and an uncivilised nation is our attitude to education and the amount spent on it. This is crucial.
I hope that when the Minister replies he will try to answer some of the points which I have raised.
§ 7.50 p.m.
§ Mr. Peter Fry (Wellingborough): It has been a great pleasure to listen to new speakers on education. I echo the congratulations to my hon. Friend the Member for Merton and Morden (Miss Fookes) on her first-class maiden speech and wish to say how delightful it was to 1271 hear a Welsh schoolmaster, the hon. Member for Cardiff, North (Mr. Michael Roberts), speaking from the Conservative benches.
One of the mole distressing aspects of the debate has been the constant harping on class divisions by hon. Members opposite. I am sure that all hon. Members on this side of the House deplore the continual reference to this hoary old chestnut. For some peculiar reason the Opposition have decided that comprehensive education is a question of trying to create equality of opportunity for all members of the community. I read a quotation the other day which said:
In any system, whether selective or comprehensive, limitations of background and lack of motivation are more likely than lack of innate ability to delay educational progress.
Those words are very true. They are a complete justification of the Government's policy of concentrating effort in the primary sector to try to make up for the innate disadvantages which many children have when they first go to school.
One result of the General Election was that many local authorities thought that a new Secretary of State would solve their secondary reorganisation problems for them. They did not realise that what we meant was that they had to sort things out for themselves. I should be the first to admit that in certain areas, and particularly in the county in which my constituency is situated, an unholy mess has been created by the operation of different policies. The education committee has spent many years trying to make up its mind, and it has been blown this way and that by pressure groups inside and outside the county. The result is a system of mixed education which pleases almost no one.
As the hon. Lady the Member for Peckham (Mrs. Corbet) pointed out, we cannot rush into a comprehensive system even if we are completely dedicated to it. I am astonished to hear people who want to make a comprehensive school of an existing secondary school where there is not even an O-level course. I do not know how children who live in the catchment area of such a school can be considered to have equality of opportunity. They will be as educationally deprived as anyone in the most deprived areas of our great cities.
1272 The main subject about which I want to speak is higher education. I was pleased that the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Rhodes) referred to it. However, I wish to approach it from a slightly different angle. I am a little perturbed at the forward projections of the number of students going to universities and higher education. When I read that 450,000 university places are projected for 1981, I ask myself whether we shall get good value from those extra places. To my mind, the university is geared to the academic. I believe very strongly that if we educate many of the younger generation in academic pursuits and are then unable to supply them with satisfying conditions in society when they leave, we may well be building up for ourselves considerable social disturbance.
Parallel with this has been the development of the polytechnics. This is where we should concentrate in the further extension of higher education. The whole purpose of the polytechnics is to relate the kind of course offered to our industrial and commercial needs. If we are seriously considering raising the proportion of the gross national product spent on education to 8 per cent. we must ensure that we get the maximum return from that investment.
We should therefore have another good look at the future development of the polytechnics. I should like to see them divorced from the financial control of the local education authorities because it is inevitably an inhibiting factor on their development. I should also like to see some form of national co-ordination of courses and development. Industry will demand more and more people who can go into firms with some awareness of what business is about. I detect in the growing number of Cambridge students who cannot find jobs the age-old attitude of industry, which is, "We have to take you if you are a graduate trainee because we cannot get you at 16. But we would rather have you at 16."
We want to look for most of our intelligent people to a system of higher education which allows for many more sandwich courses and much more part-time release so that a person can feel that he is doing something useful at a much earlier age than 22 or 23. In this way we shall get an even higher standard of management and management trainees 1273 will not change their job two or three times in the first few years of their career because they cannot make up their minds in which direction they want to go.
We must encourage more young people to go into industry with the understanding that if they want to go on to obtain degrees and further qualifications, that privilege will be given to them. This could do a tremendous amount to assist the country's economic progress. Therefore, by extending the work of the polytechnics and by imposing a national system of development and control on them and divorcing them from the financial control of the local authorities we shall be getting value for money for the 8 per cent. of the gross national product which we shall be spending on education in 1980–81.
I have been perturbed to see the main teachers' union advocating militant action to try to ensure that a certain system of secondary reorganisation is introduced. Some members of the various unions are suggesting strike action, which is deplorable.
§ Mr. Marks
What some members of the union are advocating is that they should not take part in the 11-plus selection process. They are not saying what kind of secondary school reorganisation should take place in particular areas; that is for the local authorities and the Secretary of State to decide. But they are being required to undertake 11-plus selection procedures with which they totally disagree.
§ Mr. Fry
Yes. Surely if the constitutional position is that the local education authority, the elected representatives of the people, decide upon a system of reorganisation, then anyone who does not like working under that system can leave. No one is asking him to stay. I deplore this attempt to bring political action on the part of the teaching profession.
§ Mr. Edward Short
Would the hon. Member agree that doctors should not perform medically unsound operations no matter who says they should? In the 1274 same way, does he not agree that a teacher should be able to refuse to perform an educationally unsound operation?
§ Mr. Fry
I accept the point about the medical profession, but in this case to start with we have to define what we mean by a wrong operation or a wrong system of reorganisation. In the case of a wrong operation in the medical profession there would be a clear decision whether it would be unsound or wrong.
§ Mr. Fry
If the right hon. Gentleman is going to use the word "unsound" one must assume that there would be a general acceptance that the operation would be unsound. Otherwise it is not the word to use. In the teaching profession there is, to put it mildly, considerable disagreement about the form of reorganisation. Therefore I do not think the comparison which the right hon. Gentleman has made is valid.
§ Mr. Edward Short
In the one case the hon. Member is saying that the professional people—the doctors—can decide; in the other case, that the professional people—the teachers—should not decide.
§ Mr. Fry
I am not saying that, in that sense, the doctors are different. I am saying that it would be a matter of fact —would it not?—whether the operation would be dangerous or wrong to perform. What I am saying is that there is an argument at the moment whether the ideas being put forward by some teachers are unsound or necessary.
§ Sir Harmar Nicholls (Peterborough)
I hope that my hon. Friend will not be led astray by this stupid analogy. The main point which he made is very sound. Local elections were fought on certain educational opinions and how they should be developed, and people were constitutionally elected to do the job they want to do; and it is not right for any section of people operating in the schools to try to undo policies undertaken on constitutional grounds.
§ Mr. Fry
I thank my hon. Friend for his intervention—a wise one as usual.
Having said that I deplore the action of the minority—what I believe to be a 1275 minority—of the teaching profession, I echo many of the fears and expressions of dismay which there have been about the overall quality of teaching in this country at the moment. In whatever walk of life—except, perhaps, in this Chamber—we get what we pay for, and I have therefore always been strongly of the opinion that teachers have been drastically under-valued and underpaid. I was, therefore, delighted when the present Secretary of State brought out the new proposals on structure. I believe that the quality of the teaching profession can be improved only by moving towards the structure system and away from the fiat rate for the non-graduate teacher. Many leading, sensible teachers accept this.
I make the point for this reason. Many a young person of 17 or 18 today does not know what he wants to do in life. Because of the system that two A levels can qualify one for university or for a teacher training college, universities and colleges of further education are full of people who are not sure that they want to follow the course upon which they started. Ask anybody who at the moment is in a college of education. He will say that he knows a high percentage of young people in that college who do not want to go in for teaching. Yet because of the progress which they have made, they go on through the college and come out as teachers.
In refuting the Opposition's Motion today, I commend the Government's policy in moving towards this new salary structure for teachers, and I hope that the teachers will be paid a decent salary, that it will raise standards in this respect, and that we shall be getting greater value for money.
§ 8.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Barry Jones (Flint, East)
I am remembering at this moment a quotation from Mr. Gladstone. When a Measure was going through this House he was heard to mutter rather sourly, "We must educate our masters now." I think there is a whiff of that in one or two places on the benches opposite. I make no bones about it: it is part of my job here to help to improve as rapidly as possible the conditions in which millions of working-class children go to school, 1276 and I agree that, to some extent, the debate today has displayed class attitudes.
Reference has been made to the amount of the gross national product which goes on the education service. In 1945 this nation spent about 1.7 per cent. of the G.N.P. on education. By 1970 it had risen to about 6.2 per cent. Idealistically, perhaps, reforming educationists would like to see the proportion aproaching 10 per cent. or 12 per cent.
There are great problems ahead in the financing of education, not least in contending with inflation. If it were decided to spend some 15 per cent. on education in this year a local education authority might find that the value of that percentage spent on development would be 4 per cent. because it would have to contend with galloping inflation under this Government, and it would not get the true development it desires.
There has been some criticism of the outgoing Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short), but I should like to attempt to counter the criticism by saying that I think he was cruelly robbed of his opportunity of being proved the best post-war Secretary of State for Education. Had the present Opposition gone into the election having his Green Paper "Education for a Generation", we might well have found that we should have polled that 5 per cent. of the electorate who at the election stayed at home. That is my view.
The status of the teaching profession has enormous consequences for any movement seeking to eradicate inequalities in education, and my experience has taught me that the status and salary of teachers are inextricably intertwined. That is why as a member of the National Union of Teachers I am sorry that the present Secretary of State has thrown her weight on the side of the management proposals. Many teachers, I believe, think, as I do, that these proposals are detrimental to the profession, that they are beneficial to the local education authorities, that they are élitist in concept, that they are divisive of the profession itself, that they are an excuse for paying more for teachers in short supply, and that they are a ruse for cheating the experienced teachers of subjects not in short supply.
1277 As for the salary increase, I should have thought that the teachers would want to make good the shortfall arising from the rise in the cost of living and that the increase should also allow a rise in the teachers' own standard of living, and, thirdly, that it should also include some betterment factor in recognition of the wonderful and increasingly valuable work which the teachers do.
When the right hon. Lady addressed delegates of the National Union of Teachers at Scarborough, she gave them a lecture on slow learners, but ducked the salary issue. When in the same week she addressed another professional organisation she raised the matter of salary structures. Thus, on her Easter escapades she chucked overboard what remained of her impartial status. Many in the profession are gravely disappointed in her actions. I should like her Department to indicate whether it feels that a head of a department in a comprehensive school is doing a more important job than an infant school teacher. My view is that there is no more difficult and vital job than teaching an infant how to read. I wonder why in the scales and the restructuring proposals put forward by the management the infant sector seems to be so greatly undervalued.
Many teachers also consider that the Government are dragging their feet on salary negotiations. Will the Secretary of State for Employment be able to meet the teachers' panel? The impression is being gained that the Government have decided, in their usual abrasive and arrogant way, that the teachers should sweat it out, and that the crude policies of the market place have been adopted towards the teaching profession. In this delicate sphere the Government are stoking up a climate of bitterness and recrimination which is likely to erupt into a surge of militancy in the years ahead.
I cannot help contrasting the speeches of the Secretary of State and the General Secretary of the T.U.C. at Scarborough before the same assembly. The comparison is instructive. The right lion. Lady had a warm and cordial reception. Later, the General Secretary of the T.U.C. had a prolonged and enthusiastic standing ovation, albeit after a very brief talk. His point was that even greater stimulation should be given to educational opportunities for children of work- 1278 ing-class parents. He brought a welcome blast of fresh air to the annual teachers' conference.
The Secretary of State has been in office for nine or ten months. She has an onerous job, and in the political sphere she has been able to master her brief, but she should know about what goes on in staff rooms. In colleges throughout England and Wales teachers are asking for evidence of a passionate commitment to improving the school life of youngsters. It is all very well for her to make antiseptic speeches at conferences and in the spa towns of the provinces. It is all very well to strike political attitudes akin to those of the late unlamented Mrs. Dale. But what teachers and educationists want to see from the Government and from the Secretary of State is a passionate conviction, an empathy, a total commitment to put right what has for so long impeded the progress of working-class children.
§ 8.14 p.m.
§ Mr. John E. B. Hill (Norfolk, South)
Hon. Members on both sides of the House are agreed that there should be wider educational opportunities for the children of working-class families. I will not follow the hon. Member for Flint, East (Mr. Barry Jones) into a discussion of teachers' salaries, but it is no bad indication of the progress we are making that a higher proportion of students in our universities come from working-class families than in any other country in Europe.
I owe you and the House an apology, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for having been absent from the debate for some time because I had to attend a meeting of the Select Committee on Procedure which among other matters considers how the House spends its time. Although it is a truism that the educational budget has exceeded the defence budget, and by 1974 will be no less than 25 per cent. higher, than the defence budget, the time the House devotes to education is relatively small. Defence can be assured of five full Parliamentary days, but we usually have to rely on a Supply Day being taken by the Opposition for discussion on an educational subject. I am glad that the Opposition have at last chosen a day for education, although I regret that they have chosen such a woolly, knockabout 1279 Motion. There are many facets of education which we should be able to discuss with greater precision and in detail.
All our discussions take place against a background of rising numbers and rising standards pressing upon resources, and the catalogue of the things which the Tyne, Central (Mr. Short) would like is in right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-no way related to the economic priorities, which must remain dominant. The best thing that the Labour Government ever did was to act upon the main Plowden recommendation and go for positive discrimination in favour of the educationally deprived areas. My concern is that more should be done for the pre-school child. Research has shown that the deprivations in earlier years which may occur in educationally unsympathetic families—not all of which are poor families—have a lasting limiting effect on the educational development of a child. I am glad that 15,000 new nursery places are being established in the priority areas under the urban programme, but that represents only a small part of the total national pre-school needs.
One of the troubles about nursery education is its sheer cost. I do not want to depart from standards, but it will probably take 40 years at present rate of progress to provide nursery education throughout the nation. This suggests a need for some sort of intermediate phase for the children who now need appropriate help. I have always welcomed the encouragement of the pre-school play group movement. It is fair to claim that when the legislation for the urban programme was going through the last Parliament the Labour Government paid more attention to pre-school play groups than they otherwise might have done had we not pressed them on this. I hope that the Government will continue to encourage a partnership between the play group movement and the local education authorities.
In an effort to be brief, I will make only three points in this connection. First, the scarce, skilled infant teacher working in the pre-school sphere should be devoting that skill not just to under-fives under her immediate supervision but to the general supervision of groups of under-fives in conjunction with other adults who are lesser trained aides or voluntary helpers.
1280 Second, makeshift premises could be used because the half-day voluntary session is not long enough for somewhat inferior premises to matter particularly; that is, as long as they do not provide a health risk.
Third, this technique could bring into the educational atmosphere of pre-school work many mothers. This could spread, and a development of this kind could enable us to make progress more speedily and cheaply. I appreciate, nevertheless, that a certain amount of money is required, and I therefore wonder whether we could make savings in other ways.
This brings me to the other end of the spectrum, which is higher education. I was pleased to hear the remarks of my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Fry) about the anxieties that must attend the prospective doubling by 1981 of qualified school-leavers for whom provision must be made, whether in the university sector or, looking at higher education generally, in polytechnics and colleges of education as well.
I do not want to see students being pinched because of the purchasing power of their grants lagging behind rising prices or because of parents being unwilling or unable to make their assessed contributions. One inevitably wonders whether we have the right proportion of students home based. Because of the shortage of time, I mention this only as an example. While pre-war 41.4 per cent. of university students were home based, in 1968–69 only 17.2 per cent. were in that category. This must account for capital and recurring costs in providing students with, as it were, second homes.
We should be examining the whole structure of student grants. Probably we should retain the grant to cover tuition fees and day maintenance, but if residence is required, then that might, in general, be covered by a topping-up loan, as of right, for those who need it. I should like to see encouragement given for prospective students and others, including parents, to save for educational purposes. Although it has been suggested that loans should be made available for this purpose, in many cases people are able to provide money for this purpose.
I regret that the Motion is in the terms in which it appears on the Notice Paper. It makes sense only if the Amendment 1281 is accepted. Considering the tone of the remarks of the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central, it is a very egalitarian Motion.
I always thought that, in the education debates that took place in the last Parliament, the right hon. Gentleman was rather a Tarquin, trying to lop off bits here and there, but I realise now that the spirit of William Dowsing walks again, for the right hon. Gentleman wants to destroy some of our finest educational monuments, which he regards as worthless.
I deprecate his attack on the independent sector because I understood that it was not part of Labour Party policy to seek to abolish independent education as a whole. Perhaps on a suitable occasion this party political point can be cleared up. Was the right hon. Gentleman speaking for himself or for the Labour Party?
§ 8.26 p.m.
§ Mr. Ernest Armstrong (Durham, North-West)
I had not intended to refer to teachers' salaries, but as the right hon. Lady the Secretary of State referred to them and as they have featured in a number of speeches, I must comment on the subject. A new inquiry into teachers' salaries is not required, because the best people to talk about them are the teachers themselves; and the Burnham Committee is able to deal with the matter.
I was surprised to hear the Secretary of State's comments—the right hon. Lady has at least had the courtesy and patience to listen to the whole debate—about giving priority to the primary sector of education. One of the greatest uplifts for those working in the primary sector—I worked in it throughout my teaching career—was the 1944 Act recognition that teachers in every school are doing a job of equal worth.
My greatest fear, which is shared by many practising teachers, is that the gap between primary and secondary education will be widened and that there will be a wedge driven in the status of teachers in these two sectors of education. The Secretary of State should closely examine this matter before continuing with her advocacy of the proposals of local authorities.
I wonder what Sir Edward Boyle, now Lord Boyle, would think if he were sitting on the Government Front Bench 1282 today listening to some of the philosophies that have been expounded by hon. Gentlemen opposite. In a remarkable document entitled "Letter to a Teacher", which he wrote to children in Italy, he said in a postscript:One of the most important truths in the world today"—Lord Boyle is not given to extravagant assertions; we recall his contributions to our education debates—is that so many of our children write themselves off before they have reached their full potential.So I do not want to talk about university students or those in higher education or even those in our secondary schools who succeed in getting a good O level or C.S.E., despite all the disadvantages. I want to talk about the great number of children of average and below average ability who are denied the opportunity of reaching their full potential.
We can make party points, but, since the war, all Governments can claim some credit for our progress in education. I quarrel with the claim that structure and organisation are not important. They are very important, because they relate to our sense of values in education. However we judge our achievements—on A or 0 levels, teacher recruitment, improvement of buildings, reduction of class sizes or the reading ability of children—our standards have increased since the war. But no one would claim that we have solved our problems.
Although we live in a sophisticated, technological age, our problems are social ones. On every hand, in every type of school, there are examples of the instability, insecurity and restlessness of society. There is no easy answer, but the organisation of education has much to offer. Although we are contributing a bigger proportion of the gross national product to education than ever before—even if not accelerated, it will grow to 8 per cent. by 1980—unless we get our values right and our beliefs about how children react, even these resources will not solve our problems.
Much has been said about our "obsession" with comprehensive reorganisation. Again, I would quote Lord Boyle's comments in this remarkable document:Highly selective schools deprive the poor of the means of expressing themselves.1283 Highly selective schools include the independent sector and that is why I want to get rid of it. There will not be equality of opportunity so long as people can buy a privileged education.
So long as the Secretary of State contracts out of her responsibilities and says that it is no concern of hers, that, however reactionary a local authority may be—even if it takes no notice of teachers' views—it is the local authority which will decide on reorganisation, she will deny opportunity not to thousands of children but to hundreds of thousands and indeed to millions.
Conservative Members have said a good deal about the need for purpose-built comprehensives to make the system work. They forget that delaying comprehensive schools for any reason means retaining not a perfect, working system but a system which, in the opinion of Lord Boyle, one of our foremost educationists, denies children the opportunity to reach their full potential.
§ Mr. Timothy Raison (Aylesbury)
Would the hon. Gentleman acknowledge that Lord Boyle supported the principle of local decision on comprehensive schools?
§ Mr. Armstrong
I opposed Lord Boyle many times in the House, but I am now talking about his basic philosophy. He said that the most important truth in the world is the number of children denied the opportunity to reach their full potential. What I am saying is that continued selection means continued deprivation of more than half our children.
The curse of British education is our mania for labelling and dividing our children. We divide them not only by sending them to separate schools; we start in the infant schools and primary schools, with streaming and so on. Then we do it in the secondary school, even in so called comprehensive schools. With some of the wonderful timetables in comprehensive schools and the lettering given to certain classes of children, sometimes labelled C, D or E, we cannot wonder that at the age of 15 they, their parents and everyone who knows them, feel that the last place they want to be at 15 or 16 is inside a school. They are anxious to leave. Much of the 1284 reason is that we have labelled children in this way.
In a remarkable document, Lord Boyle said that highly selective schools deprive the rich of a knowledge of things as they are. I confess that this is true of myself. We have been talking about other people's children. There is not one Member of the House who would ever feel that their child should leave at 15. The hon. Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude) spoke about children being contracted out because they cannot benefit. There is no middle-class parent who says, "My child might not benefit from extra schooling".
The hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Fry) said that we should expand higher education but leave the universities as they are, and send the pupils on to the polytechnics. Two-thirds of the Tory Party in the House are products of universities. It is other people's children in the expansion who have to go to the other sectors. Lord Boyle was hitting the nail on the head.
This is one of the troubles about Curzon Street and those who run our education service. Their knowledge of State schools is gained from odd attendances at election meetings in the schools and official visits. One has to read the records. There are 60 ex-Etonians among Conservative Members of the House. I could go on about the other public schools. I am not trying to make cheap political propaganda.
It is impossible for an ex-Etonian, who writes articles on sociology and so on, to understand the reactions of my constituents who are condemned to attend secondary modern schools. I have never yet heard of a parliamentarian, although we hear a great deal about parents' choice, who has deliberately opted to send a child to a secondary modern school. They are schools for other people's children.
As for the Secretary of State's responsibility, I have read in The Times Educational Supplement that the right hon. Lady was a great supporter of the 1944 Act. She will know that when that Act was going through the House an Amendment was moved to reduce the powers of the Minister in his relationship with local authorities. We are told that Mr. R. A. Butler was strongly applauded 1285 when he resisted the Amendment, and that he declared then that he intended central government to lead boldly and not to follow timidly.
I support the Motion because the Secretary of State has given no lead. She is willing to shuffle off the responsibilities to the most reactionary local authorities in the country, which are determined to go on denying to the children for whom I speak the opportunity to reach their full potential. Despite all the progress that has been made in our education service, which I acknowledge, we have always rewarded the children whom we call successful and, in the main, they have come from the middle and upper classes. That is bad enough. In addition, we have penalised and punished those whom we deem to be failures and below average. We have lavished the State's resources on better playing fields and buildings for the successful, and we have penalised those who are the failures. Unfortunately, education has come to be almost a rat race and, in that race, children will continue to be denied any semblance of equality of opportunity so long as the philosophy advocated by the Secretary of State is pursued in our education service. For that reason, I hope that the House will carry the Motion.
§ 8.40 p.m.
§ Mr. Michael Grylls (Chertsey)
We have heard a lot of talk in the debate about secondary reorganisation, and I want at the outset to say a word about the County of Surrey, where the education authority is moving steadily towards a comprehensive system which in principle I believe to be right. Nevertheless, there is still room in such a comprehensive system for the co-existence of a small number of good grammar schools. It is right that parents should have a choice. If they wish, they should be able to opt to send their children to grammar schools. If the percentage is reasonably small, no one can say that it results in any creaming off from the comprehensives which inhibits them from developing fair-sized sixth forms. I hope that there will be in Surrey, as there has been in Inner London for some years, a continuing place for a small number of grammar schools representing centres of excellence, and I am sure that such a system would 1286 have the general approval of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.
I want to concentrate the main part of my speech on higher education. Although my right hon. Friend has made some welcome and exciting announcements about expanding primary education, we must not forget to carry forward the Robbins impetus in higher education. In my view, the provision of suitable courses for all those qualified is vital to our technological progress and successful economic development. Most educationists agree with the Robbins proposal that an expansion of higher education does not necessarily mean a decline in academic standards. Our experience post-Robbins has removed all such fears.
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Fry) that it is right to concentrate in the future on the expansion of polytechnic education, and I was delighted by the Government's announcement last December of an increase of £7 million in the 1972–73 building programme for the polytechnics. It has been widely and warmly received by those involved in higher education. This seems to prove my right hon. Friend's optimistic view that the polytechnics have an important part to play as one leg in the binary system of education.
The last Government's action in upgrading locally-based colleges into polytechnics was far-sighted. Above all, the polytechnics now need time and patience to establish their party of esteem with the universities. By that, I do not mean in terms of parity of work. They are different from universities. I believe that they should concentrate on the differences and make a virtue of them rather than looking over their shoulders and trying to ape the university world. They should make a virtue out of the strength of their local and regional ties with industry and commerce. I hope that polytechnics will be encouraged to undertake research work sponsored by industry. There is evidence that business generally is becoming increasingly aware of the important and useful part that polytechnics are playing. People in the business world are beginning to appreciate their value and the contribution they can make in providing highly skilled manpower and that locally-based and regionally-based higher education which is so valuable. 1287 Already the qualifications H.N.C. and H.N.D. are recognised as well worth while.
Inevitably, with the history of development of higher education, some people begin to suspect that in the future polytechnics may go the way of colleges of advanced technology. I hope that this will not happen and that my right hon. Friend and my hon. Friend the Under-Secretary will be able to confirm that.
There remain three main problems for the polytechnics. Who, in future, will control them? Will they continue to be L.E.A.-based? Will they be run by local authorities? I believe that these local authority links are very valuable if polytechnics are to maintain their existing character and work. It is therefore important that as the new breed of institution develops and expands its special contribution to higher education we should appreciate the need for a more centralised national body which, together with the L.E.A.'s, can help in this direction. If, in future, it is thought necessary to establish such a centralised national body, whatever it may be called, I hope that local education authorities will be able to continue to play a full part in the development of polytechnics.
The second problem is the serious lack of student accommodation and library facilities. There is a strong feeling that in many instances this makes polytechnics feel slightly less favoured than universities. I attach great importance to the question of student facilities. The provision of really good student union facilities, and libraries should have a high priority. People are worried about this aspect of the situation.
The third problem concerns student numbers for the future polytechnics. Many local education authorities find themselves in difficulty in preparing future development plans for their polytechnics, because they do not know the maximum number of students that is expected, for instance, in the 1980s, in any one of their institutions. They need this information if they are to obtain the right site and marry together the colleges that make up the polytechnics. That is a special problem in urban areas. More information on this subject would be helpful.
1288 As soon as possible the Government should indicate whether they expect to designate more polytechnics than the 30 that have already been designated. If they do, they should indicate what number of students they have in mind for the existing polytechnics, and if they do not, they should indicate what increase they foresee in the number of students attending the existing ones. If the Government foresee the provision of further polytechnics in the remainder of the century they should let us know where they will be situated.
I add my plea to what was said by the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Rhodes), when he pointed to the lack of these facilities in the North of England. That is true, and it is a fair point to make. If they are to be designated, I should like to see more of these polytechnics designated, certainly, outside the London area. We should like to see a few more in the South-East, but I recognise the need in the North of England.
I should be most interested if the Government could consider the possibility of associating the polytechnics in some way with colleges of education in future. There has been some talk in the debate about what the future of the colleges of education should be, and, as I sensed it, there has been a general feeling of unhappiness about the present position at these colleges. I feel that there is the possibility of associating them within a polytechnic situation, and that colleges of education would greatly benefit by being part of a truly comprehensive higher education system.
§ 8.51 p.m.
§ Mr. J. D. Dormand (Easington)
The hon. Member for Chertsey (Mr. Grylls) is a little out of date in his last observation, for some of the polytechnics are already doing what he has in mind. He spoke of the North-East. At Sunderland Polytechnic there has been a teacher-training department for about three years, and it is doing splendid work. Perhaps that will be a source of some satisfaction to the hon. Gentleman.
The House last debated education in July last year, when we on this side expressed our disgust at the action—the hasty action—of the Secretary of State in withdrawing Circular 10/65. It was a completely doctrinaire step to take, and 1289 many of my hon. Friends expressed great concern. I was not quite so vehement in my criticism of the Secretary of State that day, because I did not share the views expressed by my hon. Friends. I thought that the withdrawal of Circular 10/65 was merely silly.
By 1970, I thought, most people, of all shades of political opinion, had accepted the comprehensive principle, and this acceptance was shared by parents —I know this from experience—by education committees, and certainly by the teaching profession itself, which seems to me to be of some importance.
I was not unduly concerned because I was convinced that there would be no rush by local education authorities to withdraw plans which had already been submitted or were about to be submitted, and events since that date have proved my conviction to be right. By November, 1970, about five months after the announcement of the withdrawal of the circular, no local education authorities had withdrawn their plans, but seven had said that they were reconsidering their original submissions. By January, 1971, every plan which had been submitted contained proposals for some comprehensive schools, and as recently as the end of last month only two local education authorities had told the Secretary of State that they were reconsidering their proposals.
The Secretary of State reminded the House that there are 163 local education authorities. Most of these will now have submitted plans. She gave the figures. I am not a betting man, but I should wager that, by the time they have all been considered, less than half-a-dozen local education authorities will have submitted plans which do not wholly of at least in part include comprehensive education. I hope that the Secretary of State, at the next Tory Party conference, will have the courage to tell the faithful that, in spite of all the hullabaloo about comprehensive education, the Tory mountain of Circular 10/70 has produced a mouse of just two local education authorities.
The right hon. Lady will argue, no doubt, that the principle of freedom for the local authorities is involved, regardless of the number which wish to exercise it. I believe that the motive for the issuing 1290 of Circular 10/70 stemmed from the Conservative elitist philosophy, but, quite apart from that, the idea of control as expounded by the Conservative Party is sheer hypocrisy, for the Secretary of State well knows that the Department of Education and Science exercises most stringent control in many matters, both centrally and locally. For example, if a local education authority submitted plans for a new scheme and one of the classrooms was four square feet below the required area, those plans would be sent back to it the next day. That is the kind of minute control which the Department exercises. All the talk about freedom of the curriculum is largely a myth.
§ Mr. Dormand
The right hon. Lady shakes her head, but if a headmaster decided to have Russian as half of the timetable he would have a shoal of H.M.I.s on his doorstep, and rightly so. That myth is being spread purely to justify the Government's attitude on comprehensive reorganisation. The argument about whether we should be pro-comprehensive or anti-comprehensive is now sterile. We have moved to the next phase, which is to ask how comprehensive education is working. I am a committed supporter of it, and I am very disturbed by some of the things I know through my previous employment as an education officer and my visits to many parts of the country.
The right hon. Lady will be aware that the returns she is getting omit one very important point. I have questioned her on this matter at least twice. The Department does not ask for returns on whether comprehensive schemes include the admission of the full ability range. The right hon. Lady has made a number of speeches talking about good grammar schools existing with comprehensive schools, as did the hon. Member for Chertsey. I should have thought that that idea was dead long ago. It is a contradiction by definition. A comprehensive school by its very name must have the full ability range. If the top ability range, which is crucial to a good comprehensive school, is being taken elsewhere, then the area does not have a comprehensive school. I greatly fear that that is happening. With the Tory lack 1291 of enthusiasm for comprehensive education, it is easy to understand the position.
In addition things are happening in the schools which are giving rise to great concern. One of my hon. Friends mentioned rigid streaming. It is not possible to have rigid streaming in a truly comprehensive system, but that sort of thing is happening inside the schools. Putting the situation right is a job for the next Labour Government, but I hope that I am sufficient of an educationist to want to have something done now and to hope that the Secretary of State will instruct Her Majesty's Inspectors to investigate this serious problem and report at an early date.
The question of a truly comprehensive system is closely connected with the existence of an independent sector in education. I am delighted that my lion. Friend the Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Armstrong) had the courage to raise this point. One hon. Member spoke about Labour Party policy on the public schools. The Labour Party policy on independent schools is to abolish them. The word "integration" may be found in some of our documents, but my interpretation is that that means the abolition of the independent sector.
The Secretary of State quoted from the second Report of the Public Schools Commission. I was delighted to hear it quoted. I, too, should like to quote from that Report, which was about the independent day schools and direct-grant schools. I am doing this in the context of comprehensive education as I have defined it. The Report said:It would be illogical and self-defeating it central and local government were to bend their efforts towards creating a comprehensive educational system while simultaneously supporting schools outside that system which frustrate its development.The logic of that argument applies equally to the boarding independent schools.
I shall not tonight argue the case for the abolition of public schools, certainly not with a Conservative Government—the present Government in particular. But I will say something about one aspect—that of teacher supply. It is incredible in a democratic society that the independent schools are permitted to employ as many teachers as they wish, while the public sector is rationed—that is the correct description—by the quota system. I have 1292 the figures which show what this means. The pupil-teacher ratio in independent schools recognised as efficient has averaged 12.7 over the last six years; over the same period in maintained primary and secondary schools the ratios were 28.1 and 18.1 respectively. It is little short of scandalous that such a position should be allowed to exist and I hope that the Under-Secretary of State will say that he is prepared to look at the situation.
I have done the Under-Secretary of State the honour of reading several of his speeches and, throughout, the message, on which I congratulate him, emerges clearly that the teacher in his view is the most important part of the education system. He put it most graphically in a debate on the Plowden Report in 1967, when he said:…it is the flesh and blood of the teacher which I believe should come first."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 16th March, 1967; Vol. 743, c. 768.]The public schools certainly know that.
I believe that both my own Front Bench and the Government are too complacent about teacher supply. According to the figures for the last six years, the rate of increase has diminished each year. The average increase up to last year was 4,000; for the current year it is 2,000. That situation requires close examination. It could lead to a crisis if and when the school-leaving age is raised. The right hon. Lady knows that the Chairman of the Association of Teachers in Colleges and Departments of Education has expressed concern about this. At the annual conference of the Association in December, he said:Admission figures to be published in February will show that intake to colleges of education in 1970 was 1,600 under target, and registrations for admission in 1971 are 4 per cent. down on those for 1970. These facts must cause great anxiety to all who are concerned about the work of our schools.Nor did it help for the right hon. Lady to say in her speech at Buxton to the North of England Education Conference:It is a serious question whether, in the second half of this decade, it will be right to continue the output of teachers at the present rate.I say at once that in relation to more educational aids and assistants, which was what she was referring to, I think that she was right to ask that question, but she was certainly wrong to be asking it in 1293 1971. To be talking about a possible reduction of teachers under training four years ahead may cause a reduction in applications for the teaching profession and it has affected the morale of the already hard-pressed teachers in the schools.
The Under-Secretary of State, in Parliamentary answers to me, has expressed considerable satisfaction at the increasing number of graduates undertaking teacher training. I am not a mathematician but I believe that this is misplaced optimism, because the figures he has given me also show a diminution in the increase over the last two years. I hope that there will be no complacency about that. In any case, as is well known, the number of graduates undertaking postgraduate courses is only about one-sixth of the total number of teachers in training—a considerable minority. However, I welcome the optimism which has been shown, even if I doubt the statistics.
There are many urgent problems in education today which require solution. Because of the time at my disposal, I have devoted myself only to two of the most important—the way in which comprehensive education is developing and the teacher-supply position. The Government are ignoring the first and are too complacent about the second. For the sake of generations of children to come, I hope that they will give more serious attention to these problems.
§ 9.5 p.m.
§ Mr. Selwyn Gummer (Lewisham, West)
In the five minutes which are available to me, I should like first to suggest that it was a pity that the debate began in the rather sour way in which it was introduced, because we are debating the future of children and not political dogma or the miserable egalitarian policies put forward by the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short). If we wish to debate equality of opportunity, we ought to start with the fact that children who come from deprived home backgrounds need the most help at the early part of their development, for it is in the development of language and the understanding of the work through language, in contact with teachers and other older people, that they make up for the fact that in their homes they may not be able 1294 to ask questions, or get reasonable answers to their questions.
It is, therefore, in the primary schools where we ought to make our main effort. It is for that reason I believe that, with their change of direction and putting the emphasis on spending and development in the primary schools, the Government, contrary to what the Motion says, have shown themselves to be concerned with equality of opportunity and not with the sham and facade, which is to suggest, on the one hand, that one cares about equality of opportunity, and, on the other, to produce an answer which does not provide equality of opportunity.
My objection to the dictatorial suggestion that one system of education shall be intruded upon the whole nation is that it is too late at 11 to be comprehensive. Where one needs to press that is in the poorest areas of our cities, and by that I mean not just in terms of housing or conditions, but the areas where most children from deprived homes are. Those areas need the spending, the new schools and, above all, more teachers.
I therefore very much agree with the view of one of my hon. Friends that the Labour Government should be congratulated on accepting that part of the Plow-den Report, and how sad it was that the right hon. Gentleman did not dwell on that part, instead of starting his speech with statements injecting political dogma and argument of the kind with which he ended his speech when discussing the independent schools.
He has often said, and in a recent article he wrote, that if the Labour Government had, sadly, remained in office, three things would have happened First, total comprehensivisation would have been imposed on all parts of the country. That I believe to be contrary to the whole history and attitude of our education system, which has primarily been an arrangement which has drawn in all sections, voluntarily and non-voluntarily, churches and all kinds of other bodies concerned to make up the variegated sort of education system which has met the variegated needs of the children of Britain.
Secondly, the direct grant system, which provided a bridge between the independents and State education, was to 1295 be abolished, although it provided another part of our education system and offered a sort of education beneficial to members of our society. To say that, because not everybody can benefit from it, nobody shall benefit from it, seems to be a narrowness in education which ill befits a man who held the office held by the right hon. Gentleman. To say that, although people shall have the right to buy a colour television, or a new motor car, they shall not be able to spend money on the education of their children is a narrow attitude which ill befits a society which hopes to spread affluence so that people will be able to make more and more choice about the things that matter. We ought to have a society in which people are able to chooose to spend money on the education of their children if they wish to do so.
It is time that we stopped being mealy-mouthed and said that we want a society which provides equality of opportunity by putting our resources in the primary sector of our education. At the same time we should say that we are not prepared to sweep away the variegated system that we have built up over 1,350 years merely because we are now arrogant enough to believe that we, at long last, have the answer which has eluded generations. If we thought that in 1944 we would have imposed for ever the system embodied in the 1944 Education Act. If we had thought that in 1844, we would have imposed for ever the all-age school. If we think today that God has given us the answer, then we are being arrogant and talking nonsense.
§ 9.11 p.m.
§ Mr. Alan Williams (Swansea, West)
May I devote one sentence to dealing with the point made by the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Selwyn Gummer)? What he misunderstands is the nature of the opposition felt on this side of the House to the paid sector of education. It is not the purchase of education, it is the purchase of privilege and the perpetuation of privilege that we find hard to swallow.
May I at the outset congratulate the hon. Member for Merton and Morden (Miss Fookes). I am sorry that she is not here just now. Hers was an outstandingly good maiden speech and even if it were not a courtesy that she be con- 1296 gratulated upon it, I feel sure that hon. Members would have congratulated her because it was so lucid and reasonable and an exercise in dealing with a rather delicate subject with none of the hysteria which I am afraid is sometimes shown by male hon. Members of this House.
I am in the position of making a semi-maiden speech in that I am making my first speech at the Box on education, having had to transpose myself from the economic sphere to the education sphere. I hope that both sides of the House will forgive me if I devote part of my speech to being constructive, albeit in a critical sense.
Since I have been asked to deal with higher education perhaps I should start by establishing the premises upon which I found my opinions. In common with most of my hon. Friends, I take it for granted that for the vast majority of children, if there is to be any opportunity in this life, it is through education. That is a first principle from which we operate. The second one is that for everyone the fulfilment of their innate personal potential depends on education. Starting from those premises I draw rather different conclusions from some hon. Gentlemen who have tried to assess education purely against an economic yardstick.
In stating such underlying principles we are entering a markedly different political phase from the earlier phase in that there is a rapidly increasing awareness of individuality and of the right of the individual to develop his personality, to be himself and to fulfil himself. We see this in movements such as Women's Liberation, student protests and anarchism. It could well be that if Rousseau had not thought of a social contract theory, someone would be thinking in terms of writing it today.
This aspiration to fulfil individual liberty and one's personality is felt by an increasingly articulate public who are able to express their discontents and frustrations. This situation exists against the background of a mass communication system which can quickly focus public opinion and arouse that public opinion on social discontentment. In such an articulate, volatile, democratic society the Government's response to problems, to frustrations, to blockages in the social system must be more rapid than ever 1297 before if we are not to develop an unstable society.
Yet the quandary for the administrator and the politician—this applies to Ministers of both parties when in government—is that in many sectors of administration planning and provision is inevitably slow—for instance, motorways, transport and university. It is therefore essential to identify the problems at the earliest possible moment, and the more fundamental the right which is being blocked or which is in danger of being denied, the more important it is to have early diagnosis.
Against this background of belief—with which hon. Members opposite can legitimately disagree but it is the premise from which I operate—I should like to consider the question of higher education. There is a danger that in this decade we could move into a crisis of under-provision in higher education. I find no reassurance whatsoever in the Planning Paper No. 2, Student Numbers in Higher Education in England and Wales. I recognise that it is a discussion document and, as it says in the foreword, hasno implications whatever for future Government policy or finance".Green Papers are very desirable, but there is a risk that if they are too narrow they stultify discussion; if they are too wide they tend to lead to nebulous discussion. This document errs on the side of being too narrow and stultifying. Further, it is statistically dubious in its diagnosis of the problem and is unimaginative in its treatment of the problem and in posing alternative solutions. It contains in its statistics one incontrovertible statistic about the future—the demographic statistic, the easily verifiable statistic. While up to 1974 we shall have a plateau in the number of 18-year-olds, it will be followed by a substantial increase reflecting the rise to the peak birthrate in 1964. This fact is unchallengeable.
But confusion commences even in the second sentence of the foreword. It refers to:the numbers of students for whom places might need—note the word "need"— 1298to be provided in full-time higher education in England and Wales up to 1981 and the cost of providing these places".The document is trying to establish the need. Yet it is wrong because the method it uses—and it states this clearly—is the extrapolation of past figures of provision of places, not the extrapolation of the numbers of people suitably qualified to enter higher education. As it says in paragraph 4(1), it bases future needs on the fact thatthe intake to university and advanced further education has been projected up to 1981 on the basis of destinations of school leavers since 1962".Bear in mind what this means for anyone trying to plan in education.
In so far as there has been under-provision in the past—and we all recognise that there has been—this document perpetuates it, and, since by 1981 there will be a larger number of 18-year-olds, it magnifies that under-provision. For this reason the document is somewhat dangerous and misleading. It accepts that some allowance must be made for certain imponderables. It speaks, rightly, of the tendency in a comprehensive system for more youngsters to stay on in the sixth form and then go forward to the higher education system. It refers to the fact that raising the school-leaving age will boost this effect. I think it will.
It then points out that it is difficult to be precise about the effects of these boosting factors, and yet in its statistical interpretation it proceeds to be precise. I think it would have been more intellectually honest as a document had it recognised the range of variables. May I put a situation we had in the Department of Economic Affairs when producing "The Task Ahead"? There we also had imponderables with which to deal. What we decided was that it was better to have a range of parameters, a range of possibilities, rather than have what could be a misleading, single, planning figure. Furthermore, we had this range of possibilities triggered for playback from informed sources within the education system on the eventual trend line which would emerge.
I think that this document, having planned from its basic statistical assumptions, underestimates the effect of comprehension on the tendency to stay into the sixth form and into higher education. 1299 I think that it also underestimates the rising public expectation of the provision of higher education for the children. This in part is attributable, perhaps, to the higher standards of living. People perhaps are able to forgo the earnings of their children more than they previously could. More important, I think it is due to the basic factor I referred to earlier, the desire for personal intellectual fulfilment, which is increasing in society. Furthermore, we have the fact that as parents who have been educated themselves, particularly in the post-war period, now have their own children reaching the age of decision whether to stay at or leave school, the parental push will be stronger than it has ever been before to commit to a post-official-leaving-age education. For these reasons I think the figures in this document are understated.
Yet despite the fact that it does not do what at the outset it suggests that it intends to do, and despite the fact that it underestimates the dynamic factors such as comprehension, it still finds that by 1981 the Government should provide double the higher education places they were providing in 1967. Here I think it would be helpful if the Under-Secretary of State, when winding up, would tell the House whether the Government accept this minimum target, the single figure given here as the minimum target, at which the Government must aim in planning further education, because—and we must be clear about this—if they fail to accept it as the minimum, what they are saying is that children who reach the higher education stage during the 1970s will have less chance of getting into higher education than did their older brothers and sisters. Therefore, to refuse to accept this is to diminish opportunity, to diminish quality.
Even more important, in this context, it would be useful if universities could know—and I hope also that it will be reassuring to parents to know—whether the Government accept the Robbins criterion, whether the Government accept that all who are suitably qualified and wish to go into higher education can be free to do so. It is not only lack of actual figures which is confusing the universities at the moment and disturbing vice-chan- 1300 cellors. It is the failure to get any established principle of approach to the future of education.
Finally, in relation to this particular aspect of the document, will the Government, therefore, assure the House that they will give the annual growth rate of expenditure in higher education which is required to meet the Robbins criterion-based growth of higher education? One hon. Member has referred to residential accommodation. If we have to face the fact that this is a major obstacle to the future expansion of higher education, it would also be helpful if the hon. Gentleman could give us some indication of what his concept is of the future shape of our universities. Does he envisage a move towards commuter-type universities where the number of places for residents is not increased? These are factors on the future of education which it is essential that the planner should know.
The document contains one or two conclusions which are particularly worrying to certain groups. Paragraph 42 of the document states that the proportion of girls with one A level will decrease markedly, from 58 per cent. in 1967 to 25 per cent. in 1981. That is a striking reduction. At the same time, the proportion of boys receiving higher education is envisaged as staying constant. This is after allowance has been made for the contraction in colleges of education which will in part be met by the expansion of opportunity for girls in other sectors of advanced higher education. It may be thought that the Secretary of State would not permit this to happen, and that the document is only for the purposes of discussion, but the Buxton speech only adds to our fears. The Secretary of State said:It is a serious question whether in the second half of this decade it will be right to continue the output of teachers at the present rate and thus to pre-empt a very large share of the total resources available for Improving the operating standards of the schools.On what does the Secretary of State base this suggestion? The teachers' organisations have been unable to get the basic statistics and would be interested to know the figures which underlie this warning. The right hon. Lady today said that she wished to get discussions on this matter going. If that is so, information must be provided to those 1301 with whom she hopes to discuss it. I hope that today's statement will lead to a more open approach by the Government in their planning of future teacher needs.
The great problem of higher education is that it is largely unplanned. It is an example of mushrooming "ad hocery" by a series of committees. The James Committee is looking at one sector of higher education, for example. No one stands back and looks at the whole system. As is said in the book "The Impact of Robbins", in the 1960s, apart from electronics and natural gas, higher education has grown faster than any major national enterprise. Despite this, no one has taken a look at the structure as a whole. No one has bothered to establish whether it is appropriate to build on the foundations of a system which evolved in the 1950s and earlier but was never fully planned, particularly if it is accepted that in the future there will be a continuous increasing demand for higher education.
The document deals with the rate of expansion until 1981. This expansion will continue until the end of the century. We must at some stage stand back and take an objective look at the whole system of post-school education. We must look at the concept of education in the sixth form and at the structure of higher education. If we want to obtain a meaningful change in this structure, it will not be enough for us as politicians to discuss it. Many hon. Members have put forward their own versions of reforms which they would like to see in higher education.
We have, in a sense, been trying to patch up the status quo. Nobody has wanted to look at the machine as a whole. For this reason I ask the Secretary of State to consider whether this may not be the time to establish a Royal Commission to look at the whole content, objectives and structure of post-school education.
A great many diverse points have been raised in the debate. The Minister has been told that we want the question of the rate-support grant discussed by the Under-Secretary when replying. I appreciate that both he and I have given up some of our time for the final speeches to enable more back benchers to speak. I hope, nevertheless, that he will comment 1302 on this issue. The fact remains that the local authority associations have made the position clear. They said:It will be difficult for local authorities to bear this double cut in grant without a significant increase in the rates or some curtailment in the planned development of services, or both.Local authorities have, therefore, been faced with a cruel choice because 50 per cent. of their budget is represented by education. They have had either to cut back on the education front or to impose a higher incidence of what we all know to be a singularly inequitable and cruel type of tax; namely, the rates.
It is clear, as the figures come in, that the local authorities have been more responsible than the Government in their approach to education, but the price is being paid in the level of rate increases which are now being imposed. G.L.C. figures show increases in London of 26.8 per cent. In my constituency the increase is 16p. Similar increases can be demonstrated time and again throughout the country.
Particularly infuriating is the fact that, in their approach to the problem, the Government have been utterly arbitrary. They have imposed an efficiency cut which has applied uniformly to all authorities, regardless of the fact that they may have indulged in efficiency operations, as 50 per cent. of them have.
The Government have also acted with callous disregard of the effects of this on ratepayers. The Minister for Local Government and Development said in the House on 10th December, after admitting that Labour's measures in relation to rates had virtually shielded domestic ratepayers from rate increases in the previous five years, that the Conservative Government did not consider it appropriate that the domestic ratepayer should be so insulated from the cost of services.
I hope it will be noted in the country that the abnormal rate increases that are now being imposed are the direct and willed result of a Tory Government decision not to protect ratepayers from the escalating cost of local government.
The Secretary of State's comments on school meals were as alarming as some of the comments we have heard today about comprehensive education. She gave the present cost as 17p and then, if I understood her correctly, said that it 1303 was the Government's intention that ultimately the full cost of school meals should be borne by parents. Since 17p does not reflect the inflationary agricultural policy which the Government have adopted, it is obvious that the increase in food prices and, therefore, in school meal prices, will be formidable.
I regard with absolute horror the right hon. Lady's suggestion that schools might, to meet this situation, provide what I thought she described as "half meals"[Interruption.] She said they could supply partial meals. The suggestion that youngsters should be in school from nine in the morning until four at night, nine hours, and not have a full meal is astonishing and apppalling. That is what I understood the right hon. Lady to say. [Interruption.] I assure hon. Gentlemen opposite that that was my impression, but if she did not mean that and if she is willing to withdraw the idea, I shall be extremely glad.
What has emerged from this debate is that the Government stand condemned because of their failure to explain to the teachers how they have reached their assessment of future teacher needs; because of their failure to spell out to parents the implications of their policy on teacher-training and particularly the implications of their policy on higher education opportunities; because of their failure to challenge their own Tory council backwoodsmen, who willingly sacrifice the opportunities of youngsters in the areas under their control; because of their failure, despite frequent appeals, to give universities the guidance on teacher planning for which they have been asking for months; and because of their failure to carry forward the policy of eliminating classes of over 30 in all our schools. Above all, they deserve condemnation for their intention to perpetuate privilege and the human disadvantages which emerge in a divided nation.
§ 9.36 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. William van Straubenzee)
I would first join the hon. Member for Swansea, West (Mr. Alan Williams) in warmly congratulating my hon. Friend the Member for Merton and Morden (Miss Fookes) on one of the most charming and effective maiden speeches which this House has heard for many a 1304 long year. I am certain that, on both sides of the House, we look forward with the greatest possible pleasure to hearing her on many occasions in future
I am sure that all hon. Members felt deeply for her when she said how she was waiting for Crossbencher to send her her wooden spoon. I received one of the nicest personal presents that I have ever had because of appearing in the columns of Crossbencher. The only thing that she should watch is that, certainly as a Tory Member, the golden rule is never to win a mention in the columns of Crossbencher in approving tones.
One thing that I was asked to deal with was the curious dispute among the hon. Member for Birmingham, Small Heath (Mr. Denis Howell)—who has courteously explained that he could not remain to hear the end of the debate—his own Front Bench and ourselves about his recollection of his own Government's alleged response to the report of the Y.S.D.C. I have made the inquiries requested of me and have not been able to substantiate his confident assertion that he publicly expressed his Government's approval in principle of the Report's recommendations.
The reference which I have found, and which I should have thought was conclusive, is that made as recently as 5th March, 1970, by the hon. Member for Eton and Slough (Miss Lestor) in her capacity as Under-Secretary of State, when her hon. Friend the Member for Portsmouth, West (Mr. Judd) asked for a clear statement of Government policy. She replied:We are considering all the recommendations and the comments that have been made on them. This is bound to be a lengthy job because it is a very complicated report. Some bodies concerned with this youth work have indicated that they would welcome an authoritative statement from the Government quickly. On the other hand, others have indicated that they would rather we hastened more slowly."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 5th March, 1970; Vol. 797, c. 600.]Apart from that being a skilled Parliamentary answer, I cannot honestly say that I find in it the wholehearted acceptance of the Report which the hon. Member for Small Heath suggested. I am sorry to have to say this in his absence, but I believe that to be the factual position.
1305 I now deal with the planning of the next stages of the expansions in higher education. I congratulate the hon. Member for Swansea, West on what he called his maiden speech from the Dispatch Box, if only because he has given us that perfectly splendid phrase "mushrooming ad hocery", which I am sure will go down and which admirably describes much of the previous Government's legislation. In answer to his interesting criticisms, it surely cannot make sense, from whatever point of view we approach this mammoth problem, to do so on the basis of only one of the segments of higher education. The essence of intelligent planning must be to look over the whole field, the universities, further education generally, with special reference to the polytechnics, the colleges of education and their future, and—this has not been mentioned—the Open University. I therefore ask him to note that this planning is geared to a programme which has been agreed, and is perfectly public, with the University Grants Committee and with the vice-chancellors in respect of the university sector.
In that sector the universities were already beginning, in the spring of 1970, to consider the basis on which their estimates for the next quinquennium, which, as the house knows, is 1972–77, should be drawn up. I do not make a point of this, but no decisions had been announced by the previous government. Therefore, the U.G.C. decided, wisely, to issue provisional guidance to universities about possible student capacity in 1976–77, and this went out in May, 1970. Therefore, the main stages in the next quinquennium settlements are that from September of this year, universities will be returning their final submissions for the quinquennium, including development proposals. The U.G.C. will then make a bid to the Government for the first year, but only for the first year, of the quinquennium, that is to say, the academic year 1972–73. The provisional recurrent grant for that year will be announced towards the end of 1971.
In the spring of 1972 the U.G.C. will submit their final bid for the whole quinquennium and the final settlement will be made as soon as possible after that. That is a timing which follows exactly the previous settlements. It is the answer to the hon. Gentleman's complaint about alleged uncertainty about universities. 1306 This is an agreed and settled timetable. Only very recently the chairman of the University Grants Committee said publicly that for the Government to make any kind of announcement or any public judgments ahead of receiving the figures from the U.G.C. would be exceedingly unwise, and I agree with him.
This planning mechanism having been set up, it cannot surely be right for the Government to go ahead of the timetable which has been agreed. Until decisions are taken on the expansion of that sector of higher education, and of higher education as a whole, it will not be possible, for example, to answer such questions which have been raised as to whether any new universities ought to be planned or founded in the 1970s. I know that there are areas which would dearly like to see such a university.
I hope that the House will note that both the U.G.C. and the vice-chancellors are satisfied that student numbers in the university sector can be substantially increased without any new universities. On the present sites there is room for very substantial expansion and, when the time comes, this will be a highly relevant factor.
That is only one of the sectors. The second sector, to which my hon. Friends the Members for Chertsey (Mr. Grylls) and Wellingborough (Mr. Fry) referred and in respect of which the hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East (Mr. Rhodes) made a very interesting speech, is not only the F.E. sector generally but the polytechnics in particular. I must say how much I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Chertsey that these are institutions of higher education of the greatest importance and value.
The list of F.E. major projects authorised to start in 1971–72 was notified to local education authorities last autumn. Its value in total is £22.3 million, which allows for the recently announced 20 per cent. increase in cost limits. The value of projects for polytechnics in that programme is £5.6 million, and I am dealing with starts in 1971–72. But a further list of projects was authorised in December, and local education authorities were informed that they could continue with design work in the expectation that building work would begin in 1972–73, the later 1307 year. The value of this list, again taking the polytechnic element, is £8.8 million for the polytechnics.
I draw attention to the significant emphasis which derives from these figures: an increase in one year from £5.6 million for polytechnics, which we found on taking office was itself a figure lower than the previous year, to £8.8 million. That is a 50 per cent. increase in one year. As I recall his words, the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central (Mr. Edward Short) said that there was not a gleam of indication of Government policy in high education. I have explained how the policy must be looked at as a whole. But a 50 per cent. increase in one year in the allocation of capital for polytechnics is a great deal more than a gleam. I am satisfied that it has been noted gratefully in the polytechnics, and I do not think that my right hon. Friend will need to apologise to the House or to anyone else when her programme for the year following is publicly announced.
Of course, those increased figures include provision for example, for libraries. The hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East was right in saying that the social provision in many of the new polytechnics for staff and students alike is substantially below the standard that both sides of the House would wish to see. I hope that the hon. Gentleman has noticed, for example, the pilot scheme, now well on its way, at the Leicester Polytechnic where, in partnership with the Government, student-staff provision is being worked upon in a way which I trust will be applicable to the whole of the polytechnic sector. These are practical examples of a mighty gleam in the eye of the appropriate Government Departments.
The third of the sectors which I have mentioned is that of the colleges of education. I am delighted that there has come out of the debate a very warm welcome for the James Committee's inquiry. The hon. Member for Peckham (Mrs. Corbel) was generous in her congratulations over this, as was my hon. Friend the Member for Brierley Hill (Mr. Montgomery), drawing upon his extensive teaching experience.
The right hon. Member for Sunderland, North (Mr. Willey) was very fair in casting his lack of favour on both sides of the House. In a very interesting speech, 1308 he asked in a sense why his own Government left the Central Advisory Council for Education without a remit for three and a half years. That is a very fair question. He was equally generous in recognising that it took my right hon. Friend only a short time to set up the very inquiry into teacher training that he, when in the distinguished chair that he held in the last Government, was pressing for and was good enough to welcome in the strongest terms. But there is an element about the new Committee which I am sorry has not been more widely recognised, namely, that it is engaged in a totally new type of inquiry.
The hon. Member for Swansea, West talked about a Royal Commission for higher education. That concept is now out of date. For the purpose of teacher training we have a full-time group of distinguished men and women who devote their time entirely to this purpose and who intend to report at the end of a year.
There is also the Open University. The Government have asked the Open University authorities to consider what contribution they can make to qualified school leavers in Open University terms. Next month they will be coming back—[HON. MEMBERS: "Shame !"] It is not a shame. I do not have time to give the quote, but I hope that hon. Members will read the speech which the then Prime Minister—now the Leader of the Opposition—made at the inaugural meeting of the Open University on 23rd July, 1969, in which he clearly indicated—and I have the words here, if they are required—that he forsaw a role for the Open University in supplementation of the work of the existing universities and for the qualified school leaver.
§ Mr. Dick Douglas (Clackmannan and East Stirlingshire)
I do not dispute the hon. Gentleman's argument that there is possibly a role for the Open University, but it never was envisaged that its role would be to take people directly upon leaving school. It was to be supplementary—to give people, in general terms, a second chance.
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
In that case I shall read what the Leader of the Opposition said. I have given him notice that I may use his spech. He said:The problem of providing enough university places for all those qualified"—1309 I shall read the full sentence—will be with us for some time to come and there will certainly be a further massive increase in the demand for higher education in the next ten years. It is not going to be easy to achieve the increase in places in our existing centres of higher education which this calls for and the Open University will have a vital role to play in complementing the efforts of other universities.For the edification of the House I would point out that the right hon. Member's speech is on tape, and I have taken the words down from the tape.
I was asked by my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Maude) to say a word about the direct grant schools. I want to make it as clear as words can make it that one of the fundamental changes last June was the firm removal of the hostility to the direct grant system. Like my hon. Friend, I want to give every encouragement and reassurance to a system which combines many of the best features of the fully maintained and independent sector.
The hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Pardoe) asked if I could say something about the Teachers' Council. My right hon. Friend has not yet had an official reply from the two bodies to which the hon. Member referred. She reads the papers, as others do, but I am sure that hon. Members appreciate that it would not do for a Secretary of State to communicate, as it were, through the columns of the Press. When she receives the formal reply from the N.U.T. and the A.T.T.I., she will consider her course of action, and I am certain that she would prefer to be able to proceed, if she could, with the agreement and support of teaching profession, if that can be achieved.
We have had a wide-ranging debate, at the start of which reference was made to an article which the right hon. Member for Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Central wrote in the publication Where?, in which he set out for us all the splendid things he had proposed to do, almost none of which appeared in the manifesto with which he confronted the electorate. I detected a sad note as the right hon. Gentleman told us how his plans had been squashed —that was his word—by the wretched early General Election—that was his 1310 phrase. I have to tell the right hon. Gentleman that for very many people it was not a wretched General Election. On the contrary, for education, it was a General Election which resulted in the largest primary school programme in our history.
§ Mr. Marks rose—
§ Mr. van Straubenzee
It was a so-called wretched General Election which removed the doctrinaire insistence on comprehensive reorganisation. It was an election which moved the searchlight on to the primary sector, which is overwhelmingly the one where it should be. It was an election which removed the threat of execution from the direct grant schools, and it was an election which said that it was no longer something to be ashamed of that people should spend their own money educating their children as they thought right.
The General Election has resulted in the largest proportional increase in capital expenditure on the polytechnics that we have ever known. It has brought a new type of full-time inquiry into teacher training. It has introduced new arrangements for negotiating student grants whereby they are brought for the very first time into direct relationship with the Department. If there be delay, as there is, in producing the answer, this is because of the careful note which is being taken of the students' representations, and I am sure that both sides of the House would wish to pay tribute to the responsible way in which the student body has put forward its views.
The General Election produced a Government who are doing a planning exercise in higher education over the whole field of university, polytechnic, college of education and Open University, and a Government who have given a commitment to the raising of the school leaving age which does more than anything else to fulfil the terms of the Motion. That is why I ask the House to vote for the Amendment, with every assurance and confidence.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury (Mr. Francis Pym)
rose in his 1311 place, and claimed to move, That the Question be now put.
§ Question, That the Question be now put, put and agreed to.1312
§ Question put accordingly, That the Amendment be made:—
§ The House divided: Ayes 274, Noes 233.1315
|Division No. 347.]||AYES||[10.0 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||Luce, R. N.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Fookes, Miss Janet||MacArthur, Ian|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Fortescue, Tim||McCrindle, R. A.|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Foster, Sir John||McLaren, Martin|
|Astor, John||Fowler, Norman||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Fox, Marcus||McMaster, Stanley|
|Awdry, Daniel||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Fry, Peter||McNair-Wilson, Michael|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)|
|Balniel, Lord||Gardner, Edward||Maddan, Martin|
|Batsford, Brian||Gibson-Watt, David||Madel, David|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Maginnis, John E.|
|Bell, Ronald||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Glyn, Dr. Alan||Marten, Neil|
|Benyon, W.||Goodhew, Victor||Mather, Carol|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Gower, Raymond||Maude, Angus|
|Biffen, John||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Gray, Hamish||Mawby, Ray|
|Blaker, Peter||Green, Alan||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Grieve, Percy||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Body, Richard||Grylls, Michael||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Boscawen, Robert||Gummer, Selwyn||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Gurden, Harold||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Bowden, Andrew||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Money, Ernle|
|Braine, Bernard||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Monks, Mrs. Connie|
|Bray, Ronald||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Monro, Hector|
|Brewis, John||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Haselhurst, Alan||Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Havers, Michael||Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hawkins, Paul||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)|
|Bryan, Paul||Hay, John||Mudd, David|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M)||Heath, Rt. Hn. Edward||Murton, Oscar|
|Buck, Antony||Heseltine, Michael||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Higgins, Terence L.||Neave, Airey|
|Burden, F. A.||Hiley, Joseph||Nicholls, Sir Harmar|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Nott, John|
|Campbell, Rt. Hn. G. (Moray & Nairn)||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Onslow, Cranley|
|Channon, Paul||Holland, Philip||Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally|
|Chapman, Sydney||Holt, Miss Mary||Osborn, John|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Hordern, Peter||Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hornby, Richard||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Clark William (Surrey, E.)||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)||Peel, John|
|Clegg, Walter||Howell, David (Guildford)||Percival, Ian|
|Cooke, Robert||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Peyton, Rt. Hn. John|
|Cooper, A. E.||Iremonger, T. L.||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Cordle, John||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Pink, R. Bonner|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||James, David||Price, David (Eastleigh)|
|Cormack, Patrick||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.|
|Costain, A. P.||Jennings, J. C, (Burton)||Proudfoot, Wilfred|
|Critchley, Julian||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)||Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis|
|Crouch, David||Joplin, Michael||Quennell, Miss J. M.|
|Crowder, F. P.||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith||Raison, Timothy|
|Curran, Charles||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||Kellett, Mrs. Elaine||Rawlinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. Jack||Kershaw, Anthony||Redmond, Robert|
|Dean, Paul||Kilfedder, James||Reed, Laurance (Bolton, E.)|
|Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Kimball, Marcus||Rees, Peter (Dover)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Dixon, Piers||King, Tom (Bridgwater)||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David|
|Drayson, G. B.||Kinsey, J. R.||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon|
|du Cann, Rt Hn. Edward||Kirk, Peter||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Dykes, Hugh||Kitson, Timothy||Ridsdale, Julian|
|Eden, Sir John||Knight, Mrs. Jill||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)|
|Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Knox, David||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Lambton, Antony||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Lane, David||Rost, Peter|
|Farr, John||Le Marchant, Spencer||Royle, Anthony|
|Fell, Anthony||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)||St. John-Stevas, Norman|
|Fidler, Michael||Longden, Gilbert||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.|
|Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Loveridge, John||Scott, Nicholas|
|Sharples, Richard||Taylor, Edward M.(G'gow, Cathcart)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Shelton, William (Clapham)||Taylor, Robert (Croydon, N.W.)||Warren, Kenneth|
|Simeons, Charles||Tebbit, Norman||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Sinclair, Sir George||Temple, John M.||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Skeet, T. H. H.||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Soref, Harold||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Speed, Keith||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Spence, John||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Sproat, Iain||Tilney, John||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Stainton, Keith||Trafford, Dr. Anthony||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Stanbrook, Ivor||Trew, Peter||Worsfey, Marcus|
|Stewart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)||Tugendhat, Christopher||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.||Younger, Hn. George|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Stokes, John||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Stuttaford, Dr. Tom||Waddington, David||Mr. Reginald Eyre and|
|Sutcliffe, John||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)||Mr. Jasper More.|
|Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)|
|Abse, Leo||English, Michael||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold|
|Albu, Austen||Evans, Fred||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Faulds, Andrew||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Allen, Scholefield||Fernyhough, Rt. Hn, E.||Loughlin, Charles|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Ashley, Jack||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||McBride, Neil|
|Ashton, Joe||Foley, Maurice||McCartney, Hugh|
|Atkinson, Norman||Foot, Michael||McElhone, Frank|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Forrester, John||McGuire, Michael|
|Barnes, Michael||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Mackenzie, Gregor|
|Barnett, Joel||Freeson, Reginald||Mackie, John|
|Beaney, Alan||Galpern, Sir Myer||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Garrett, W. E.||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Gilbert, Dr. John||McNamara, J. Kevin|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Golding, John||MacPherson, Malcolm|
|Bishop, E. S.||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Gourlay, Harry||Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)|
|Booth, Albert||Grant, George (Morpeth)||Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Marquand, David|
|Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Marsden, F.|
|Bradley, Tom||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||Mayhew, Christopher|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||Meacher, Michael|
|Buchan, Norman||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Hamling, William||Mendelson, John|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Hardy, Peter||Mikardo, Ian|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Millan, Bruce|
|Cant, R. B.||Heffer, Eric S.||Miller, Dr. M. S.|
|Carmichael, Neil||Horam, John||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)|
|Clark, David (Colne valley)||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)||Moyle, Roland|
|Cocks Michael (Bristol S.)||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Cohen, Stanley||Hunter, Adam||Murray, Ronald King|
|Coleman, Donald||Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)||Ogden, Eric|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Janner, Greville||O'Halloran, Michael|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas||O'Malley, Brian|
|Cronin, John||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Oram, Bert|
|Cropland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Orbach, Maurice|
|Dalyell, Tam||John, Brynmor||Orme, Stanley|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Oswald, Thomas|
|Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)||Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Davies, C. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)||Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles|
|Davies, Ilfor (Gower)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Pardoe, John|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W.Ham, S.)||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Deakins, Eric||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)||Pendry, Tom|
|Delargy, H. J.||Kaufman, Gerald||Pentland, Norman|
|Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Kelley, Richard||Perry, Ernest G.|
|Dempsey, James||Kerr, Russell||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.|
|Doig, Peter||Kinnock, Neil||Prescott, John|
|Dormand, J. D.||Lambie, David||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Latham, Arthur||Price, William (Rugby)|
|Duffy, A. E. P.||Lawson, George||Probert, Arthur|
|Dunn, James A.||Leadbitter, Ted||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Leonard, Dick||Rhodes, Geoffrey|
|Ellis, Tom||Lestor, Miss Joan||Richard, Ivor|
|Roberts, Rt.Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Spearing, Nigel||Wallace, George|
|Robertson, John (Paisley)||Spriggs, Leslie||Watkins, David|
|Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n & R'dnor)||Stallard, A. W.||Wellbeloved, James|
|Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Fulham)||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Roper, John||Stoddart, David (Swindon)||Whitlock, William|
|Rose, Paul B.||Strang, Gavin||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Ross, Fit. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley||WiKiams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Swain, Thomas||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Taverne, Dick||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N. E.)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)||Tinn, James||Woof, Robert|
|Sillars, James||Torney, Tom|
|Silverman, Julius||Urwin, T. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Skinner, Dennis||Wainwright, Edwin||Mr. Joseph Harper and|
|Small, William||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)||Mr. Kenneth Marks.|
|Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
§ Main Question, as amended, put:—1316
§ The House division: Ayes 274, Noes 232.1319
|Division No. 348.]||AYES||[10.12 p.m.|
|Adley, Robert||Davies, Rt. Hn. John (Knutsford)||Hordern, Peter|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Maj.-Gen. James||Hornby, Richard|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Dean, Paul||Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hn. Dame Patricia|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Deedes, Rt. Hn. W. F.||Howe, Hn. Sir Geoffrey (Reigate)|
|Archer, Jeffrey (Louth)||Digby, Simon Wingfield||Howell, David (Guildford)|
|Astor, John||Dixon, Piers||Hutchison, Michael Clark|
|Atkins, Humphrey||Drayson, G. B.||Iremonger, T. L.|
|Awdry, Daniel||du Cann, Rt. Hn. Edward||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)|
|Dykes, Hugh||James, David|
|Baker, Kenneth (St. Marylebone)||Eden, Sir John||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)|
|Baker, W. H. K. (Banff)||Edwards, Nicholas (Pembroke)||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)|
|Balniel, Lord||Elliot, Capt. Walter (Carshalton)||Jones, Arthur (Northants, S.)|
|Batsford, Brian||Elliott, R. W. (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||Joplin, Michael|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Farr, John||Joseph, Rt. Hn. Sir Keith|
|Bell, Ronald||Fell, Anthony||Kaberry, Sir Donald|
|Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)||Fenner, Mrs. Peggy||Kellett, Mrs. Elaine|
|Benyon, W.||Fidler, Michael||Kershaw, Anthony|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Finsberg, Geoffrey (Hampstead)||Kilfedder, James|
|Biffen, John||Fisher, Nigel (Surbiton)||Kimball, Marcus|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)|
|Blaker, Peter||Fookes, Miss Janet||King, Tom (Bridgwater)|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S.W.)||Fortescue, Tim||Kinsey, J. R.|
|Body, Richard||Foster, Sir John||Kirk, Peter|
|Boscawen, Robert||Fowler, Norman||Kitson, Timothy|
|Bossom, Sir Clive||Fox, Marcus||Knight, Mrs. Jill|
|Bowden, Andrew||Fraser, Rt. Hn. Hugh (St'fford & Stone)||Knox, David|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Fry, Peter||Lambton, Antony|
|Braine, Bernard||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Lane, David|
|Bray, Ronald||Gardner, Edward||Le Marchant, Spencer|
|Brewis, John||Gibson-Watt, David||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Lloyd, Ian (P'tsm'th, Langstone)|
|Brown, Sir Edward (Bath)||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Longden, Gilbert|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Glyn, Dr. Alan||Loveridge, John|
|Bryan, Paul||Goodhew, Victor||Luce, R. N.|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus, N & M)||Gower, Raymond||McAdden, Sir Stephen|
|Buck, Antony||Grant, Anthony (Harrow, C.)||MacArthur, Ian|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Gray, Hamish||McCrindle, R. A.|
|Burden, F. A.||Green, Alan||McLaren, Martin|
|Butler, Adam (Bosworth)||Grieve, Percy||Maclean, Sir Fitzroy|
|Grylls, Michael||McMaster, Stanley|
|Campbell, Rt.Hn. G. (Moray & Nairn)||Gummer, Selwyn|
|Channon, Paul||Gurden, Harold||Macmillan, Maurice (Farnham)|
|Chapman, Sydney||Hall, Miss Joan (Keighley)||McNair-Wilson, Michael|
|Chataway, Rt. Hn. Christopher||Hall, John (Wycombe)||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)|
|Chichester-Clark, R.||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Maddan, Martin|
|Clark, William (Surrey, E.)||Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Madel, David|
|Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)||Harrison, Brian (Maldon)||Maginnis, John E.|
|Clegg, Walter||Harrison, Col. Sir Harwood (Eye)||Marples, Rt. Hn. Ernest|
|Cockeram, Eric||Haselhurst, Alan||Marten, Neil|
|Cooke, Robert||Havers, Michael||Mather, Carol|
|Cooper, A. E.||Hawkins, Paul||Maude, Angus|
|Cordle, John||Hay, John||Maudling, Rt. Hn. Reginald|
|Corfield, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Heseltine, Michael||Mawby, Ray|
|Cormack, Patrick||Higgins, Terence L.||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Costain, A. P.||Hiley, Joseph||Meyer, Sir Anthony|
|Critchley, Julian||Hill, John E. B. (Norfolk, S.)||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Crouch, David||Hill, James (Southampton, Test)||Mills, Stratton (Belfast, N.)|
|Crowder, F. P.||Holland, Philip||Miscampbell, Norman|
|Curran, Charles||Holt, Miss Mary||Mitchell, David (Basingstoke)|
|Money, Ernle||Rees-Davies, W. R.||Taylor, Robert (Crowon, N.W.)|
|Monks, Mrs. Connie||Renton, Rt. Hn. Sir David||Tebbit, Norman|
|Monro, Hector||Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon||Temple, John M.|
|Montgomery, Fergus||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas||Thatcher, Rt. Hn. Mrs. Margaret|
|Morgan, Geraint (Denbigh)||Ridsdale, Julian||Thomas, John Stradling (Monmouth)|
|Morgan-Giles, Rear-Adm.||Roberts, Michael (Cardiff, N.)||Thomas, Rt. Hn. Peter (Hendon, S.)|
|Morrison, Charles (Devizes)||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)||Thompson, Sir Richard (Croydon, S.)|
|Mudd, David||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)||Tilney, John|
|Murton, Oscar||Rost, Peter||Trafford, Dr. Anthony|
|Nabarro, Sir Gerald||Royle, Anthony||Trew, Peter|
|Neave, Airey||Russell, Sir Ronald||Tugendhat, Christopher|
|Nicholls, Sir Harmar||St. John-Stevas, Norman||Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.|
|Nott, John||Sandys, Rt. Hn. D.||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Onslow, Cranley||Scott, Nicholas||Vaughan, Dr. Gerard|
|Oppenheim, Mrs. Sally||Sharples, Richard||Waddington, David|
|Osborn, John||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)||Walker, Rt. Hn. Peter (Worcester)|
|Owen, Idris (Stockport, N.)||Shelton, William (Clapham)||Walker-Smith, Rt. Hn. Sir Derek|
|Page, Graham (Crosby)||Simeons, Charles||Ward, Dame Irene|
|Page, John (Harrow, W.)||Sinclair, Sir George||Warren, Kenneth|
|Peel, John||Skeet, T. H. H.||Weatherill, Bernard|
|Percival, Ian||Soref, Harold||Wells, John (Maidstone)|
|Peyton, Rt. Hn. John||Speed, Keith||Whitelaw, Rt. Hn. William|
|Pike, Miss Mervyn||Spence, John||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Pink, R. Bonner||Sproat, Iain||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Price, David (Eastleigh)||Stainton, Keith||Wood, Rt. Hn. Richard|
|Prior, Rt. Hn. J. M. L.||Stanbrook, Ivor||Woodhouse, Hn. Christopher|
|Proudfoot, Wilfred||Stowart-Smith, D. G. (Belper)||Woodnutt, Mark|
|Pym, Rt. Hn. Francis||Stodart, Anthony (Edinburgh, W.)||Worsley, Marcus|
|Quennell, Miss J. M.||Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.||Wylie, Rt. Hn. N. R.|
|Raison, Timothy||Stokes, John||Younger, Hn. George|
|Ramsden, Rt. Hn. James||Stuttaford, Dr. Tom|
|Rawllinson, Rt. Hn. Sir Peter||Sutcliffe, John||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Redmond, Robert||Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Mr. Reginald Eyre and|
|Reed, Laurence (Bolton, E.)||Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)||Mr. Jasper More.|
|Rees, Peter (Dover)||Taylor, Frank (Moss Side)|
|Abse, Leo||Davies, Denzil (Llanelly)||Horam, John|
|Albu, Austen||Davies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Hughes, Rt. Hn. Cledwyn (Anglesey)|
|Allen, Scholefield||Deakins, Eric||Hughes, Mark (Durham)|
|Archer, Peter (Rowley Regis)||de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen, N.)|
|Armstrong, Ernest||Delargy, H. J.||Hughes, Roy (Newport)|
|Ashley, Jack||Dell, Rt. Hn. Edmund||Hunter, Adam|
|Ashton, Joe||Dempsey, James||Irvine, Rt. Hn. Sir Arthur (Edge Hill)|
|Atkinson, Norman||Doig, Peter||Janner, Greville|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Dormand, J. D.||Jay, Rt. Hn. Douglas|
|Barnes, Michael||Douglas, Dick (Stirlingshire, E.)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)|
|Barnett, Joel||Duffy, A. E. P.||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)|
|Beaney, Alan||Dunn, James A.||John, Brynmor|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)|
|Bennett, James (Glasgow, Bridgeton)||Edwards, William (Merioneth)||Johnson, Walter (Derby, S.)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Ellis, Tom||Jones, Barry (Flint, E.)|
|Bishop, E. S.||English, Michael||Jones, Dan (Burnley)|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Evans, Fred||Jones, Rt. Hn. Sir Elwyn (W. Ham, S.)|
|Booth, Albert||Faulds, Andrew||Jones, Gwynoro (Carmarthen)|
|Bottomley, Rt. Hn. Arthur||Fernyhough, Rt. Hn. E.||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, W.)|
|Boyden, James (Bishop Auckland)||Fisher, Mrs. Doris (B'ham, Ladywood)||Kaufman, Gerald|
|Bradley, Tom||Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Kelley, Richard|
|Brown, Bob (N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, W.)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Kerr, Russell|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Foley, Maurice||Kinnock, Neil|
|Brown, Ronald (Shoreditch & F'bury)||Foot, Michael||Lambie, David|
|Buchan, Norman||Forrester, John||Latham, Arthur|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Lawson, George|
|Callaghan, Rt. Hn. James||Freeson, Reginald||Leadbitter, Ted|
|Campbell, I. (Dunbartonshire, W.)||Galpern, Sir Myer||Lee, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Garrett, W. E.|
|Cant, R. B.||Gilbert, Dr. John||Leonard, Dick|
|Carmichael, Neil||Golding, John||Lestor, Miss Joan|
|Carter, Ray (Birmingh'm, Northfield)||Gordon Walker, Rt. Hn. P. C.||Lever, Rt. Hn. Harold|
|Carter-Jones, Lewis (Eccles)||Gourlay, Harry||Lewis, Ron (Carlisle)|
|Castle, Rt. Hn. Barbara||Grant, George (Morpeth)||Lomas, Kenneth|
|Clark, David (Colne Valley)||Grant, John D. (Islington, E.)||Loughlin, Charles|
|Cocks, Michael (Bristol, S.)||Griffiths, Eddie (Brightside)||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)|
|Cohen, Stanley||Griffiths, Will (Exchange)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson|
|Coleman, Donald||Grimond, Rt. Hn. J.||McBride, Neil|
|Conlan, Bernard||Gunter, Rt. Hn. R. J.||McCartney, Hugh|
|Corbet, Mrs. Freda||Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||McElhone, Frank|
|Cox, Thomas (Wandsworth, C.)||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||McGuire, Michael|
|Cronin, John||Harming, William||Mackenzie, Gregor|
|Crosland, Rt. Hn. Anthony||Hardy, Peter||Mackie, John|
|Dalyell, Tam||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Darling, Rt. Hn. George||Heffer, Eric S.||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, C.)|
|McNamara, J. Kevin||Parker, John (Dagenham)||Spriggs, Leslie|
|MacPherson, Malcolm||Parry, Robert (Liverpool, Exchange)||Stallard, A. W.|
|Mahon, Simon (Bootle)||Pendry, Tom||Stewart, Rt. Hn. Michael (Futham)|
|Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)||Pentland, Norman||Stoddart, David (Swindon)|
|Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)||Perry, Ernest G.||Strang, Gavin|
|Marquand, David||Prentice, Rt. Hn. Reg.||Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R.|
|Marsden, F.||Prescott, John||Summerskill, Hn. Dr. Shirley|
|Marsh, Rt. Hn. Richard||Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)||Swain, Thomas|
|Mason, Rt. Hn, Roy||Price, William (Rugby)||Taverns, Dick|
|Mayhew, Christopher||Probert, Arthur||Thomas, Rt. Hn. George (Cardiff, W.)|
|Meacher, Michael||Reed, D. (Sedgefield)||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert||Rees, Merlyn (Leeds, S.)||Tinn, James|
|Mendelson, John||Rhodes, Geoffrey||Torney, Tom|
|Mikardo, Ian||Richard, Ivor||Urwin, T. W.|
|Millan, Bruce||Roberts, Rt. Hn. Goronwy (Caernarvon)||Wainwright, Edwin|
|Miller, Dr. M. S.||Robertson, John (Paisley)||Walden, Brian (B'm'ham, All Saints)|
|Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)||Roderick, Caerwyn E. (Br'c'n & R'dnor)||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Rodgers, William (Stockton-on-Tees)||Wallace, George|
|Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)||Roper, John||Watkins, David|
|Morris, Rt. Hn. John (Aberavon)||Rose, Paul B.||Wellbeloved, James|
|Moyle, Roland||Ross, Rt. Hn. William (Kilmarnock)||Whitehead, Philip|
|Mulley, Rt. Hn. Frederick||Sheldon, Robert (Ashton-under-Lyne)||Whitlock, William|
|Murray, Ronald King||Shore, Rt. Hn. Peter (Stepney)||Willey, Rt. Hn. Frederick|
|Ogden, Eric||Short, Rt. Hn. Edward (N'c'tle-u-Tyne)||Williams, Alan (Swansea, W.)|
|O'Halloran, Michael||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N.E.)||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|O'Malley, Brian||Silkin, Rt. Hn. John (Deptford)||Wilson, Alexander (Hamilton)|
|Oram, Bert||Silkin, Hn. S. C. (Dulwich)||Wilson, Rt. Hn. Harold (Huyton)|
|Orbach, Maurice||Sillars, James||Wilson, William (Coventry, S.)|
|Orme, Stanley||Silverman, Julius||Woof, Robert|
|Oswald, Thomas||Skinner, Dennis|
|Owen, Dr. David (Plymouth, Sutton)||Small, William||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Pannell, Rt. Hn. Charles||Smith, John (Lanarkshire, N.)||Mr. Joseph Harper and|
|Pardoe, John||Spearing, Nigel||Mr. Kenneth Marks.|
That this House approves the educational and youth policies of Her Majesty's Government which are providing for increased resources for education as a whole, enlarged building programmes, expansion of further and
higher education, improvement in the pupil-teacher ratio, and the raising of the school leaving age, thereby widening the opportunities for all children and young people to develop their abilities to the full for their own and the nation's benefit.