HC Deb 13 February 1973 vol 850 cc1128-9
17. Mr. Roderick

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proportion of the time of a school counsellor is taken up in careers education and guidance.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

The Department does not collect this information.

Mr. Roderick

Does the Under-Secretary recognise that the answer which his right hon. Friend gave to me on 29th January could be misleading since people would imagine schools counselling to be careers guidance in education? Will he make a statement indicating that there should be two separate services? Further, will he take steps to set up an inquiry to consider the extent of a counselling service and the need to have a full-time department in each school doing this work?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

This is a very important sphere of the education service. There is a gradually growing acceptance that this subject should have an identifiable place in the academic curriculum. Meanwhile the number of full-time qualified counsellors is small, but a number of these will have attended in-service courses of short duration or longer courses lasting a year. Whilst specialist teachers are required, this subject should not be considered as being confined only to specialist teachers.

Mr. Cormack

Does my hon. Friend agree that it is of paramount importance that every secondary school should have a careers master who devotes much of his time to this subject and that by 1974 or 1975 every school should have virtually full-time careers guidance?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

As I said, this is an extremely important part of the education service. Most schools already have a part-time staff member who has special responsibilities in this sphere.

Mrs. Renée Short

That is not true.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

Yes, it is true. We are advancing towards a position where there will be more teachers employed full-time in this sphere.