HC Deb 15 March 1977 vol 928 cc199-200
8. Mr. Grylls

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will make a statement about the future of sixth form colleges.

Miss Margaret Jackson

Thirty-two local education authorities have now established sixth form colleges as part of their schemes for secondary reorganisation I welcome this, especially at a time of declining secondary school rolls. Sixth form colleges allow a wide range of courses to be provided on an economical basis for all those who wish to continue their education beyond 16.

Mr. Grylls

Will the Minister say why there is this anomaly in the regulations applying to post-16 education in schools and sixth form colleges and those who go to further education colleges after 16? Why are such matters as the provision of fares not allowed in colleges of further education? Will the Minister consider publishing common regulations applying to both sectors—school education and college education—after 16? That would be fairer, and helpful.

Miss Jackson

We are aware of the problems arising from the fact that tertiary colleges and sixth form colleges operate under different regulations. That is the way in which the matter has evolved. We are considering the position.

Dr. Boyson

Will the Minister assure the House that before the Government bring any pressure to bear in terms of any further advance in the number of sixth form colleges and tertiary colleges there will be a full public examination of academic results compared with other areas and other forms of organisation and also comparing the results in terms of the teaching profession in relation to children of the age of 16?

Miss Jackson

It would be wise to examine the results at sixth form colleges, and such an exercise could produce only a favourable reaction. I question whether we should look at academic results only, since the whole point of sixth form colleges is to provide academic and non-academic courses. It would be a pity to look at only one side.