HC Deb 19 October 1972 vol 843 cc431-2
8. Mr. David Clark

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when she intends to publish her advice to schools and youth groups concerning the dangers of mountain and moorland visits in winter.

Mrs. Thatcher

A departmental pamphlet entitled "Safety in Outdoor Pursuits" has been sent for printing and will be published early in November.

Mr. Clark

Does the right hon. Lady realise that there has been one tragic accident already this season although we have not reached the most inclement weather, and will she do all in her power to try to issue the document to the schools as soon as possible? Will she also try to arrange as much publicity as possible to parents and teachers about the absolute need for safety on the mountains?

Mrs. Thatcher

Yes, certainly. I have done my best to hurry up the printing process. I should like to say how sorry we all were to hear of that tragic accident. The pamphlet has taken a long time because we felt it necessary to have the maximum consultation with all the organisations which could give advice and contribute towards a very good pamphlet.

Mr. Marten

Does the pamphlet make clear that even the simplest mountain can become extremely dangerous in certain weather? Therefore, does it advise that schoolchildren, particularly the younger ones, should not be taken out without someone experienced to accompany them?

Mrs. Thatcher

The pamphlet makes clear absolutely the necessity for qualified leadership and proper equipment. I think my hon. Friend will be satisfied with the pamphlet when he sees it.

Mr. Edward Short

Will the right hon. Lady ensure that the pamphlet goes to independent schools as well as to others, because the recent accident involved boys from an independent school which has had two serious accidents in the last few years? Before she finally decides on the pamphlet, will the right hon. Lady look at the statement by Dr. Ogilvie, the leader of the Patterdale mountain rescue team which went to the rescue of the boys in the recent accident?

Mrs. Thatcher

The pamphlet has already gone to the printers and to get it back now would, I am afraid, retard its publication, which I do not think the right hon. Gentleman would wish. I shall look at the statement to which he has referred.