HC Deb 25 June 1974 vol 875 c1197
20. Dr. Boyson

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if, in view of the fact that the number of GCE A-level entries and passes have not risen at the rate which was earlier forecast, he will consider the appointment of a new committee on higher education to review the recommendations of the Robbins Report.

Mr. Gerry Fowler

No, Sir. My Department has these matters under continuous review.

Dr. Boyson

Does the Minister agree that as the calculation in respect of the number of students taking two A-level subjects made in the Department of Education and Science planning paper No. 2 in 1970 is out by 11 per cent. over two years, a new committee on higher education should be appointed, particularly bearing in mind that many people have changed their minds about the Robbins Report, including Lord Robbins himself, on the question of grants and the disability of a gap in education between the time when pupils leave school and enter university?

Mr. Fowler

No, Sir, that does not affect my original reply. The hon. Gentleman misunderstands the importance of the Robbins Report. Its importance lay in establishing principles which should be observed in determining the proportion of students who were able and willing to go on to higher education and for whom places should be provided. The importance did not lie in the report's statistical appendices, which must be subject to continuous review year by year.

Mr. Marten

Would not some of these problems be overcome if we got away from the binary system and appointed a higher education commission to deal with both further and higher education?

Mr. Fowler

I take note of the hon. Gentleman's oft-expressed view on that subject. I will certainly consider it.