HC Deb 23 July 1974 vol 877 c1272
3. Mr. Cryer

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will seek powers to require local authorities to institute management committees with representatives of staff and students in secondary schools.

The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Ernest Armstrong)

No, Sir. The Education Act 1944 already requires that every secondary school shall have a governing body, but the constitution of such a body in the case of a county school is a matter for the local education authority. There is nothing in law or present practice to prevent local education authorities from revising their county school instruments to permit the appointment of representatives of staff and senior pupils.

Mr. Cryer

Does my hon. Friend accept that my Question was about the internal organisation of schools and not about external management through boards of governers? Does he accept that management committees would harness the wealth of ideas and talents possessed by teachers and students, that they would help to erode the rigidly hierarchical systems which now exist in schools and that they would be of practical benefit since they would give experience of democratic decision-making within schools?

Mr. Armstrong

My Department is anxious to have the further involvement of parents, teachers and pupils in the running of schools. We are reviewing every aspect of the matter. Even an enlightened Department of Education and Science cannot impose democracy. This is a matter for discussion at local level.