HC Deb 10 November 1971 vol 825 cc1013-4
21. Mr. Rankin

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland when he expects the date for raising the school-leaving age to 16 years will be announced.

Mr. Monro

I announced during the debate on the Address on Friday, 5th November that the school-leaving age would be raised from 1st September, 1972. I am sending the hon. Member a copy of my right hon. Friend's Department's Circular No. 813 of 8th November on this subject.

Mr. Rankin

I hope that the hon. Gentleman is more fully seized of the importance of this Question than his right hon. Friend was of my Question No. 20. Will he assure us now that we shall not go through all the misery, trouble and other misfortunes which attended the raising of the school-leaving age after the war, and that there are preparations now ready to be put into effect so that the boys and girls who will stay on may enjoy their time at school until they are 16?

Mr. Monro

I do not underestimate the difficulties in raising the school- leaving age next year. We have made careful provision for the buildings, the curricula and the supply of teachers, which seems now to be improving rapidly.

Mr. MacArthur

The supply of teachers is improving rapidly, but will my hon. Friend bear in mind that there are still certain areas of Scotland and certain subjects in which there is a severe shortage of secondary teachers, and will he consider taking urgent further steps to cure those shortages?

Mr. Monro

I understand the point made by my hon. Friend. The effect of the designated schools scheme has been quite impressive. There will be help with removal costs and in other ways. We hope that the teaching profession will be ready to meet the raising of the school-leaving age next autumn.

Forward to