HC Deb 13 April 1972 vol 834 cc1416-7
13. Mr. Barry Jones

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals she has for implementing recommendation 644 of the Council of Europe on road safety and road safety in schools; and if she will make a statement?

Mrs. Thatcher

On the first part of the recommendation, my Department and the Department of the Environment are collaborating in the preparation of guidance on road safety education for teachers. The remainder of the recommendation is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment.

Mr. Jones

Is this not the thin end of the wedge of changes in our school system following entry into the Common Market, and is not a new principle being established when the Government seek to lay down what is to be taught in our schools? Has the Secretary of State any plans to consult the teachers on this matter in the near future?

Mrs. Thatcher

No, I do not believe that it is the thin end of the wedge. Our system of curriculum is different, and will remain different, from that in some continental countries. At an earlier stage we gave guidance on road safety and that kind of thing, and we shall continue to do so in the future. I hope that a handbook will be published later this year.

Mr. Simon Mahon

Is the right hon. Lady aware that it is not only roads that present dangers to children, since in my constituency in the last 10 years we have lost 32 children in the local canal? This is a disgrace to any nationalised board. Will she consider the possibility in industrial areas of opening more and more schools during the summer holiday to try to obviate these dreadful tragedies to working-class children?

Mrs. Thatcher

With respect to the hon. Gentleman, he has gone a rather long way from the Question, but if local education authorities wish to open schools during the summer holidays—and some of them do—they are free to do so. Such a course would require very carefully controlled supervision or there could be even more tragedies.