HC Deb 19 July 1978 vol 954 cc515-6
7. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether, in the light of evidence sent to him, he is satisfied with the system of progression of Scottish schoolchildren from school to university, particularly to universities in the United Kingdom outside Scotland; what information he has on how many Scottish schoolchildren attend university elsewhere in the United Kingdom and which universities are principally involved: and if he expects the pattern to change in the future.

Mr. McElhone

The opportunities for Scottish schoolchildren to enter a university are as good as those for pupils in any other part of the United Kingdom. In 1976 13 per cent. of British undergraduate entrants to United Kingdom universities were of Scottish origin. In that year about 1,700 Scottish undergraduates were studying at universities elsewhere in the United Kingdom. Information about the individual universities they attended is not readily available. I do not foresee any significant change in the present pattern.

Mr. Hamilton

Has my hon. Friend now read the report in The Times Educational Supplement, and the report in the Glasgow Herald of a few weeks ago, describing a private scheme whereby Oxford University operates through a few select, mainly fee-paying, secondary schools in Scotland regarding entrance to that university. If that kind of elitism prevails, how long will it be before my hope is fulfilled of getting a Lumphanan boy as head of the Civil Service?

Mr. McElhone

I think that my hon. Friend will have to wait until a day when justice is done and he becomes the Master of Trinity.

Mr. Crawford

As a graduate of an English university, may I assure the Minister that I never found it to be a hindrance to my joining the Scottish National Party?

Mr. McElhone

I am afraid that most hon. Members would not agree.