HC Deb 10 February 1972 vol 830 cc1530-1
3. Mr. Hunt

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, prior to the raising of the school leaving age, she will consult the Service Departments with a view to providing short courses of the Outward Bound type, particularly for children of less academic inclination, as an optional part of the school curriculum in the final year.

The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mrs. Margaret Thatcher)

Curricular matters are the responsibility of local education authorities, governors and managers of schools and teachers, all of whom can initiate such requests for assistance as they may feel are necessary. There are five Outward Bound schools run by the Outward Bound Trust and over 200 centres in England and Wales offering facilities for this kind of pursuit.

Mr. Hunt

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this suggestion came originally from a teacher in my constituency, who, like many other members of his profession, is worried about the possibility of disciplinary problems arising in the extra school year? Does my right hon. Friend agree that, if implemented on a national scale, the proposal would do something to siphon off the more high-spirited youngsters, and perhaps at the same time provide them with useful vocational guidance?

Mrs. Thatcher

I had hoped that I had indicated to my hon. Friend that there are facilities for such a course. He and his inquirers may be helped by a survey by the Department of local education authority centres, to be published in a few weeks.