HC Deb 15 June 1972 vol 838 cc1697-8
1. Mr. Orme

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what communications she has received from the National Union of School Students concerning Government policy on education; and whether she will make a statement.

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

None, Sir.

Mr. Orme

Is the Secretary of State aware of the legitimate aspirations of many young people to be consulted and to be treated in an adult manner in our society? Will she encourage this process with headmasters, teachers' representatives and school children, particularly as the school leaving age will be raised to 16? This subject will come up more and more in the coming years.

Mrs. Thatcher

I am grateful to the hon. Member for his question. Many teachers are very well aware of these facts and realise that their senior pupils should be treated as young adults rather than as young adolescents.

Mr. McCrindle

Is my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State convinced that the student members of the union are responsible for its actions, or does she believe that others who have long since left school are directing its activities?

Mrs. Thatcher

I have no knowledge of this particular union but I think it is important that young people at school, who are maturing rather faster than formerly, should have opportunities to express their views and should have some sense of responsibility.

18. Mr. John E. B. Hill

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science, what public funds have been provided for the launching of the National Union of School Students.

Mrs. Thatcher

None so far as I am aware.

Mr. Hill

Does my right hon. Friend agree that any new organisation, if it grows, should rely on voluntary subscribed income and that insofar as any other body, for example the National Union of Students, may wish to contribute, this contribution should clearly be seen to come from its own resources and should contain no element derived or possibly derived from public funds?

Mrs. Thatcher

It would be difficult to trace the precise source of moneys. As far as I am aware, the National Union of School Students has received to date £1,000 in assistance in kind from the National Union of Students. It would be difficult to trace any of that to public money. But I agree with the general sentiments expressed by my hon. Friend.

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