§ Order for Third Reading read.
§ 7.9 p.m.
§ The Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science (Dr. Rhodes Boyson)
I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
We have already had a Second Reading debate on the Education Bill, which is not a very long Bill at that. We have also had the Committee stage and an interesting, if slightly elongated, Report stage in the early hours of Friday morning. It is now our pleasure, as it were, to debate the Third Reading of the Bill.
I should like to say at the outset what the purpose of the Bill is, just as my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State defined the purposes of the Bill on Second Reading. Basically, the Bill has two purposes. The first purpose is to pass back to local education authorities and to voluntary bodies—we talked about voluntary bodies at considerable length last Thursday, as the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) will remember—the power to organise their schools as they wish, instead of all secondary schools in Britain having to be organised in the way that the Government—in this case, the Labour Government—wanted them to be organised.
Therefore, the first purpose of the Bill relates to the dispersal of power. For those of us on the Government side of the House, this dispersal of power is an important matter. We do not want power to be totally centralised in the way in which the Labour Government wanted. We wish to enable local education authorities and the voluntary bodies to run their schools within the wishes of the people in their area.
The Bill also has an educational purpose. I think it was the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mrs. Taylor) who said that we had not made an educational case. I believe that there is a strong educational case for the Bill. I should like to take up the time of the House for a few minutes to make the educational case as well as the case for the dispersal of power.
1098 We do not believe that there is one educational system, suddenly discovered in the 1960s, put into practice in this country and other countries, which is the end of an educational process. We do not believe that some wisdom was given at that time to the educational administrators and thinkers which had never been given to other men, so that once this had arrived—almost like a second coming or a crossing of the Jordan—once the world has seen this vision, educational thought ended, and all schools henceforth had to be totally comprehensive, that the case for 100 per cent. Comprehensive schools had been accepted in this country and in other countries.
Our view is that there are no such buffers to hit, no stage when there cannot be change or improvement. We believe that education exists not to follow doctrinaire or dogmatic views, whatever the day that the vision was seen, but to give children the best education possible. That is so whether we speak of the most able groups of children, average children or the least able children. We feel that education exists to give these children the greatest opportunity that they can have.
Thus, we feel that it may be that in certain areas selective schools may give these children the best opportunities. In other areas it may be non-selective schools, according to the wishes of the people there. In certain areas, it may be mixed schools, or even varied schools—there is a difference between the two.
My right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State said specifically on 3 February, well before the general election—the date 3 February is significant, because it was exactly three months before the election:We are engaged in nothing less than a conflict of principle on which our future as a nation will depend. On the one side are the ' realists ', who believe that the true purpose of education is to develop every child's potential to the full and that any changes—whether in the organisation of schools, methods of teaching or examinations—should be considered solely on their educational merits. On the other side are the self-styled ' progressives ', who are concerned with using education for ideological ends; to obtain a more egalitarian society. And if that means equal shares in mediocrity, they seem unconcerned. The Conservative Party belongs unashamedly in the former camp.We assess situations as they arise.
1099 Whereas on one side of the Chamber apparently there is salvation by faith—the faith that the comprehensive principle has been discovered and must be put through, we on the Government side of the Chamber believe in salvation by works. I am not referring to the theological views of people on the Government Benches or the Opposition Benches. However, we are prepared to assess what happens in schools by the achievements of children attending them, as far as we are able to assess that in the round.
On Second Reading, which was a very hurried, noisy and lively debate, we welcomed the hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock) to the Opposition Front Bench. I have enjoyed the battles and arguments with the hon. Gentleman since then, and no doubt I shall continue to do so. I quoted then a statement made by Mrs. Williams on 12 July last year. She was reported as saying that information about comprehensive schools was still too patchy to draw firm conclusions on the crucial issue of standards.
I could continue, as I did on Second Reading, to quote many other examples of this. The only other one I give—because of the shortness of time—relates to April this year, when the Royal Society—again, not a Conservative organisation or a Black Paper organisation—alleged that bright children were being held back in their education in smaller comprehensive schools, in which they did not in many cases get the education that their talents deserved.
On educational grounds the case for all children being in comprehensive schools has not been made, either in this country or, as I shall show later, in any other country. It is important that we keep our options open, both locally and nationally, so that we can take advantage of information and research as to which, over a long period, is the most successful system.
§ Mr. Neil Kinnock (Bedwellty)
I am very interested and, indeed, instructed by the allusions being made by the hon. Gentleman. Can he tell me where, now, there are any education authorities that are prepared to suggest that the answer or even the partial answer to the problem is selection on the basis of intelligence tests at the age of 11?
§ Dr. Boyson
I am very interested in that intervention. It is interesting because there is no mention of 11-plus selection in the Bill. It concerns the question of the organisation of schools. The 11-plus was the whipping boy which brought the change around. I do not suppose that many people in Britain would defend the 11-plus examination, but that is not the issue of the Bill.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Dr. Boyson
I see that we are touching the nerve. I shall give way—although not too much, because others will wish to speak. Opposition Members are obsessed by the 11-plus to the extent of wanting us to go totally comprehensive irrespective of any alternative organisation of schools.
§ Mr. Ernest Armstrong (Durham, North-West)
Can the Minister tell us of any authority that takes advantage of the Bill that will be able to manage without selection at the age of 11?
§ Dr. Boyson
I have a great respect for the right hon. Gentleman as an educationist. Any authority can keep its selective schools without using the 11-plus.
§ Dr. Boyson
No, with selection. We are not talking about that sort of selection. The hon. Member for Bedwellty raised the question, and I wish that his hon. Friends would listen to him as carefully as I do. I am always interested in what he says on the question of the 11-plus. Obviously, if one is saying that certain authorities can keep their selective schools, one has to have selection. I thought that even Opposition Members would understand that. But the issue raised by the hon. Member for Bedwellty concerned the 11-plus examination.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—
§ Dr. Boyson
I shall not give way again on that matter. I have made the position clear. There are none so blind as those who will not see.
§ Several Hon. Members rose—1101
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett (Stockport, North)
The Minister will accept that the Bill does not permit the expenditure of any money. That being so—and the Minister says that it does not make provision for the 11-plus—may I remind the Minister that an 11-plus examination was held in Bolton? What was the authority for spending the money on that examination?
§ Dr. Boyson
All the contortions on both sides of the Chamber on Thursday were rather beyond me. I was trying to get on to an educational point at that time. However, I am informed by good authority that the authority came in the 1944 Act. I do not want to be dragged down to dealing with money, although undoubtedly someone else may do so tonight. But in many areas which needed vast sums of money to be spent before they could become non-selective the measure would actually save money.
§ Mr. Christopher Price (Lewisham, West)
The 1944 Act does not exist. It has to be read as one with the other Education Acts passed since 1944. It must be read as one with the 1976 Act, under which plans had been approved for implementation in September, on a non-selective basis, in Bolton. Can the Minister seriously tell us, with all the the authority of the Department of Education and Science, that that expenditure in Bolton was properly made under the 1944 Act, which must be read as one with the 1976 Act?
§ Dr. Boyson
The answer to this quesion is not the two letter word that I once used—"No". It is "Yes", a three-letter word. We are increasing in literacy. I believe that my right hon. and learned Friend will refer to this matter later. But we have no doubt about our beliefs in that respect.
I see that Opposition Members do not like to hear the facts about the comprehensive situation. However, perhaps I may return to this matter so that we can continue. Comprehensive schools may work in some areas. Oxfordshire is totally comprehensive and has some of the best academic results in the country.
1102 On Report the hon. Member for Bedwellty mentioned the comparison of results between Tameside and Manchester. Those two areas contain basically the same socio-economic groups. Tameside has 29 per cent. of its population in the A/B classes and Manchester has 28.5 per cent There are inner city problems in Manchester, but it has an educational, administrative and cultural centre that does not exist in Tameside. In the age range 18-plus, there is a higher percentage of people with two A-levels and above in employment in Manchester than in Tameside. The hon. Member for Bedwellty said on Second Reading that more technical subjects are passed in Manchester than Tameside, but I shall have to check on that.
In 1977, the O-level and CSE grade I passes per pupil were 23 per cent. more in Tameside than in Manchester and 52 per cent. more for O-levels only. In 1978, there were 9 per cent. more A to E grade A-level passes per pupil in Tameside and 31 per cent. A to C. I wonder whether those figures influenced the Conservative takeover of the council or its loss to Labour this time. Passes in English at O-level and CSE grade I per pupil for Tameside were 34 per cent. more and at O-level only they were 41 per cent. more. In foreign languages they were 41 per cent. more at O-level and CSE grade I in Tameside and at O-level only 243 per cent. In mathematics the figures were 29 per cent. more for O-level and CSE grade I and 79 per cent. for O-level only. For A-level, modern languages passes were 54 per cent. more in the A to E grades and 144 per cent. in A to C, in mathematics 31 per cent. A to E and 82 per cent. A to C and in natural sciences 17 per cent. A to E and 53 per cent. A to C.
As a matter of interest 24 per cent. of the pupils in Tameside passing O-levels came from secondary modern schools as did 47 per cent. passing O-level and CSE grade I. Whatever may happen in the future, it will be interesting to analyse those figures. The statements made on Thursday were unfair to the schools of Tameside, whatever the political complexion of the teachers in them.
§ Mr. Kinnock
The hon. Gentleman has ignored the fact that the teachers have repeatedly professed that they are 1103 in favour of comprehensive reorganisation on Tameside. He has also completely ignored the fact that my complaint about the A-levels on Tameside concerned the narrowness of the curriculum offered. Despite what he has said about secondary modern schools on Tameside, if there was such widespread satisfaction with the system there would be no demand for comprehensive change. The demand is so overwhelming that it secured the return of a Labour majority in the recent elections.
§ Dr. Boyson
Other issues such as housing come up in local elections and not just education. I do not dispute what the hon. Gentleman says, but there is positive evidence that the number of A-level, O-level and CSE grade I passes per pupil show the overwhelming advantage of Tameside over Manchester. Manchester is distinguished by music and sport, but schools were created for academic purposes. I should be surprised if the hon. Member for Bedwellty or the right hon. Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Armstrong) did not check the academic results of a school before sending their children to it. It is all very well to talk of education in the round, but an important part of the system is to obtain the necessary O-levels and A-levels to give children a proper chance in life. Schools that do not do that are betraying the children in them.
We have debated non-selective or selective schools and when to select. There must be selection at some age. The debate does not exist only in this country but is going on all over the world. In Russia there are highly efficient selective schools for mathematics and natural sciences. That is similarly the case throughout Eastern Europe. There has been the return of the so-called magnet schools in America. They were once totally non-selective but some form of selection has been brought back, particularly in downtown and immigrant areas.
On Radio 3 there was recently a broadcast on China revisited, dealing with what is happening in Chinese schools since the cultural revolution. I shall gladly give the date and transcript to Labour Members as a move towards their partial salvation. Special arrangements are being made for all high-flyers in those schools. Selection has been increased particularly 1104 at secondary level, and centres of excellence with competitive examinations have been reintroduced. I do not suggest that we all go on a tour to China during the Summer Recess, but it is not true to pretend that the world has taken an overall view on education for all time.
We are not arguing about the 11-plus but whether we should have a totally comprehensive system or some form of selection for those areas that want it. That is what the Bill is about. I hope that the debate will proceed with the usual cheerful abrasiveness from both sides of the House.
In 1961 I came to London to head a secondary modern school in the East End of London that was going comprehensive. I attended meetings on the right to have comprehensive school experiments at which some hon. Members were present. One such meeting was an early meeting of the comprehensive schools committee. At that time I supported the right for a comprehensive system to be tried in certain areas of different socio-economic groups to see whether the system was successful. I did not believe that every school should go comprehensive but neither did I believe that the tripartite or bipartite system had to be maintained for all children at all times.
The wheel has come full circle. Here I am, 18 years later, arguing not for the right of comprehensive school experiments but for the right of local authorities to have schools that are not totally comprehensive. That is not a difference of attitude. I believe that the majority of schools will remain comprehensive for as long as parents and local authorities are happy with them. Schools cannot keep chopping and changing their methods. They have to grow roots. However, where areas wish to keep their grammar schools or return to some form of selection, they should be able to do so.
Black Paper No. 2 is often quoted—and it is quite a collector's item. It says:One cannot have grammar schools along side comprehensive schools or the latter will be nothing but misnamed secondary modern schools.That is perfectly true. One cannot have 20 per cent. selection for grammar schools and believe that the other 80 per cent. will be comprehensive, just because they have been renamed. There are two ways in which this problem can be overcome. 1105 Certain areas of an authority can be totally comprehensive and other areas can have grammar and secondary modern schools. We must remember that some authorities are 50 or 60 miles long and pupils will not cycle that far, even in these days of pedal power. It is easy to make a division in such cases.
Secondly, there is the argument about the percentage of selection that can exist before comprehensive schools are impossible. The hon. Member for Lewisham, West has explored this question at length. In my opinion the figure is about 5 per cent. A figure higher than that will have injurious effects upon other schools. If, on the other hand, one takes out 5 per cent. the others cannot be comprehensive schools. This is giving a vote of confidence to the 11-plus which I would never give. It is, in effect, saying that this examination is so effective at the age of 11 that all the best children have been removed. The argument against 11-plus before was that it was ineffective; here, apparently, the argument is that it is effective. Labour Members cannot have it both ways.
The same Black Paper says:A search for complete equality, combined with a vague Rousseautic belief that all men left unhampered are good, has brought the pressure for full secondary comprehensification for social ends, for non-streaming and the adoption of so-called progressive ' and non-academic methods of teaching or non-teaching. This egalitarian movement driven forward by adult men and women with the sad simplicity of the militant students has made reasonable men of varied opinions jump for cover.I wrote that 11 years ago, and it has struck me that the vote on 3 May showed that reasonable men were jumping for cover. They were jumping for a cover under which they could buy their own houses, where they suffered less taxation and where they could run the schools as they wanted to. That is why I stand by those somewhat melodramatic statements in the Black Paper.
§ 7.33 p.m.
§ Mrs. Ann Taylor (Bolton, West)
It will not surprise the House to learn that my right hon. and hon. Friends and I are opposed to the passage of this Bill. We opposed it on Second Reading and we shall vote against it again tonight.
The basic provision of the Bill has nothing to do with the dispersal of power or with educational standards. It seeks 1106 to remove the requirement on local authorities to reorganise secondary education along comprehensive lines. That is the provision that we introduced in 1976. We think that it is right, and we stand by it.
We are opposed to the Bill for three basic reasons. We oppose it in principle; we oppose it because of the haste with which it has been presented and the disruptive effects that it is already having; and we oppose it because it perpetuates the myths and fallacies upon which Conservative education policy is founded. We have heard some of those myths from the Under-Secretary tonight.
We oppose the Bill in principle for two reasons. We oppose the selective system of education which has done so much damage to educational opportunities for so many children. The other reason why we oppose it is that we positively believe in comprehensive education for educational reasons.
The arguments about comprehensive education and selection have been well rehearsed in this House on many occasions. It is remarkable how many mis-conceptions remain, and we have heard many of them this evening. We have heard about "one-system-comprehensive" education, as if all schemes were alike. This is utter nonsense. We have heard the famous quotation from the Black Paper, which many of us read and on reading it we thought that the hon. Member had learned something, namely, that one cannot have grammar schools and comprehensive schools together. The Under-Secretary spoke earlier about mixed schools and varied schools. I do not think that he understands the basic facts. The truth is that as far as educational standards, choice of subjects and educational opportunities are concerned, the comprehensive system wins hands down.
In areas where selection still exists, there is a hierarchy in education. There are one or two grammar schools with the best reputations and these cream off the best pupils. Below them are a few grammar schools which imitate the so-called best and these merely demonstrate how limited the grammar school can be. Many of them have little choice of sixth form subjects, they specialise too early and place a great emphasis on examination 1107 results in order to compete with the best grammar schools. As a system of education, this does not do a great deal of good. It does no good to those in secondary modern schools. Wherever the selective system exists the vast majority of children end up in secondary modern schools and in many areas these are considered distinctly third rate. For the most part, they respond as such. The resources are distributed very often in such a way that the grammar schools get more than secondary modern schools and have better staff-pupil ratios. In these circumstances, it is hardly surprising that grammar schools get better results, and are liked by those who can take advantage of them.
If the selective system is to be retained or even introduced, those who advocate it have a responsibility for showing how that selection will be made. Who will decide, and on what basis? What percentage of children should go to grammar schools? The Under-Secretary touched on this question a few minutes ago, but he did not say what proportion should go to grammar schools. Should it be 20 per cent., 30 per cent. or 40 per cent.? Is it good enough that the percentage who go to grammar schools should be dependent on the random situation in the area? If there is to be selection, surely the Secretary of State must be willing to say how he thinks the selection should be made. He should be willing to lay down guidelines for it.
If the right hon. and learned Gentleman thinks that it is reasonable for 25 per cent. of children to go to grammar school, what will he do when he is presented with the problem of falling rolls in secondary modern schools? If an authority now has enough places for 25 per cent. of its 11-year-olds to go to grammar school, it may, in a few years, have enough places for 35 per cent. Is whether a child gets a chance to go to grammar school dependent on how many other children were born the same year, or is there a corrected proportion? We have heard nothing of this from the Secretary of State, but if he wants to put this Bill through to promote and facilitate a selective system he must have an obligation to tell us his thinking on the method of selection to be adopted.
1108 Many Conservative Ministers are very shy about saying what kind of selection should exist. They claim that they do not want to introduce the 11-plus. Even as recently as the Conservative Party conference of October 1977, the present Leader of the House said:Let me lay to rest the false and malicious accusation that we intend to bring back the 11-plus. Of course we reject any such course. Let us hear no more nonsense about the Tories wanting to go back to the 11-plus.Perhaps that is why the right hon. Gentleman is now Leader of the House and not Secretary of State for Education and Science.
The present Secretary of State for Education and Science has been very quiet on this score. Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman recognise that, as a direct result of this Bill, the 11-plus examination has already been introduced in one authority, Bolton? Is this what the Tories want? They cannot say that they are in favour of this Bill but against the 11-plus, because this Bill will lead to a perpetuation of 11-plus examinations. Has not the Secretary of State a responsibility to lay down guidelines?
We in the Labour Party are opposed to selection at 11, and indeed to the 11-plus as such. We believe that a comprehensive system gives all children, including the brightest, a better chance of developing their full potential. For this reason alone, we oppose the Bill. However, there are other reasons.
§ Mr. Nicholas Baker (Dorset, North)
Is the hon. Lady opposed to selection within a comprehensive school?
§ Mrs. Taylor
There is no hard and fast way to select children for different schools. Within a comprehensive school there will be a degree of selection, possibly in regard to options on various subjects. The beauty of the comprehensive system is that it is infinite in the variety of education which it can provide. Not all children want to take A-level mathematics, but in a comprehensive system more children will be able to take the subjects they wish to take than if they attended grammar schools. One of the failings in many grammar schools is the narrow range of subjects offered to children. It is a narrow subject range at age 16 in regard to A-levels, but often it is very narrow from the age of 13 or 14 because many grammar schools 1109 impose a tight selection in regard to combinations of subjects taken. Many children have suffered from that failing.
I wish to deal with the other reasons why we oppose the Bill. The Bill was introduced with great haste. It was one of the first Bills brought forward by the Government following the election. It is strange that the Secretary of State should be proud that his first Education Bill has the purpose of providing for the vast majority of children in some areas the right to continue to attend a secondary modern school. This Bill is never presented in that way, but it ensures that in certain areas the vast majority of childern will continue to attend a secondary modern school.
The Bill has not been presented as a save-our-secondary-modern-schools Bill, but that is the reality of the situation for the majority of children who will be affected by its provisions. They will continue to attend secondary modern schools. The way in which the Bill is presented as a save-our-grammar-schools Bill shows that members of the Conservative Party are concerned about the tiny minority who attend grammar schools rather than about the rest of the children who attend secondary modern schools.
§ The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Mark Carlisle)
The hon. Lady said that the pupils who attended grammar schools suffered as a result of attending such schools. Will she clarify that statement?
§ Mrs. Taylor
I believe that many children who attended grammar schools suffered as a result. Their educational opportunities were very greatly curtailed. They were not given the opportunity to take many of the subjects which they wished to study—indeed, they studied them later as a result of individual effort. The education offered in many grammar schools is very limited and it has many shortcomings. If grammar school education were better, I believe that people would be less resentful of the fact that such schools mislead people as to what education is all about.
§ Mr. Harry Greenway (Ealing, North)
The hon. Lady's language is somewhat extravagant. She said that comprehensive schools provide an infinite variety of courses. Could she elaborate that point?
§ Mrs. Taylor
I think I said that there was an infinite variety of ways in which to organise a comprehensive scheme. That at least was my emphasis. I believe that comprehensive schools offer many more opportunities. Children have wider opportunities to study varying subjects than if they attend grammar schools of the kind we have experienced in the past.
Before the hon. Gentleman intervened, I was making the point that for the vast majority of children in the areas affected by the Bill the upshot will be that they will continue to attend secondary modern schools. For various children it is a protect - the - secondary - modern - schools Bill rather than a protect-our-grammar-schools Bill.
There is another reason why we should be worried about the haste in which the Bill was prepared. I refer to the practical problems that arise in the area of Bolton. Bolton is the one area in which the authority has already decided to take advantage of the Bill. In that area the Bill has created educational chaos. We have had an emergency 11-plus. Children left primary school within days of the announcement of this Bill, and they did not know what secondary school they would attend. Headmasters have been appointed to schools which do not exist, and legal arguments are now ensuing over teachers' contracts in other schools.
Is this what the Secretary of State required from the provisions of this Bill? Does he believe that it is in the interests of 11-year-olds in Bolton that this procedure has been adopted? If he takes that view, I have news for him. The parents of Bolton do not agree with him. Once the allocations go out, I believe that the Secretary of State will be kept very busy in dealing with appeals from parents who are dissatisfied about the allocations.
Did the Secretary of State expect the Bill to create such chaos in Bolton? If he did, I am amazed that he went ahead with it. If he did not take that view, he should have thought through more thoroughly the effects of the Bill. I ask the right hon. and learned Gentleman to defend what has happened in Bolton by telling the House whether these provisions are in the interests of 11-year-olds.
The third and final reason why we oppose the Bill is that it is supposed to 1111 be a Bill to give more freedom to local authorities. The Under-Secretary of State mentioned this fact. When Conservatives present their arguments in favour of selection, they always instance the issue of choice. Perhaps I may say a few words about the freedom which the Secretary of State says he is giving to local authorities in determining the nature of secondary education in their areas.
In Committee the Under-Secretary of State attempted to argue that the Bill put the clock back to the situation before the 1976 Act. I submit that that is not the case. Before 1976 there were guidelines from the Secretary of State about the kind of secondary education he wished to see develop. It is impossible for the present Secretary of State to say that he wishes to abdicate responsibility for laying down general guidelines because there is a duty laid upon him in the 1944 Act. He must take responsibility for the general framework and development of secondary education.
The hon. Member for Brent, North (Dr. Boyson) said that education is a continuing development and that our ideas are continually changing. He said that there was no buffer—no end of the line. If that is so, and if the Secretary of State agrees that education is developing all the time, he must be willing to lay down some guidelines about the way in which he wants to see education developing. If he is saying that he wishes to opt out of influencing the type of secondary education in this country, that is impossible. However, if he wants to opt out, how can he make other decisions? How can he pass an opinion, as he has already, on the type of examination system that there should be in this country? How can he decide how resources should be distributed? How can he consider on merit proposals to reorganise secondary education, as he recently told my hon. Friend the Member for Preston, South (Mr. Thorne), if he has no guidelines and no framework?
The Secretary of State has said that he wishes to leave decisions to local authorities. Therefore, is he saying that if one year a local authority decides to continue or reintroduce a selective system that is all right by him? If the following years sees a change of political control 1112 in that authority and it wishes to reorganise along comprehensive lines, will that also be all right by him? If he is saying that, he is opting out altogether. If he is not saying that, on what basis will he judge the proposals for reorganisation?
The Secretary of State cannot leave that vacuum. Either he should state directly and openly what he wishes to happen to secondary education over the next few years—or however long he may be in power, it may be months—or he will leave himself open to the charge of using back-door methods to bring about and encourage the kind of selective procedure that was advocated by the hon. Member for Brent, North.
The education policy of the Bill is similar to the Government's taxation policy:For unto every one that hath shall be given.That is not a principle that Labour Members adopt, and it worries us a great deal. If the Bill becomes law, we will have to rely on local authorities to be more progressive than they have been in the past so that they will ensure that there are as many and as good comprehensive schools as is possible.
§ 7.53 p.m.
§ Mr. Robin Squire (Hornchurch)
I shall be grateful to receive your traditional tolerance, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, should my speech extend over one or two areas that are not normally associated with education.
I pay full tribute to my predecessor Mr. Alan Lee Williams. He was a great constituency Member of Parliament who enjoyed popularity on both sides of the House. Since my return to this place I had begun to think ([...]at my election was almost as unpopular among Conservative Members as it was among Labour Members, so many friends did he have. I am delighted at his recent, publicised appointment. I trust that he will return to the House in the future, albeit in a different constituency.
It is difficult to describe, my constituency as the most beatutiful constituency, which, I am told, is the tradition. However, it is a friendly constituency that nestles on the edge of London as created in 1964. Most of those who live there still prefer to think of themselves as living in Essex. I warn hon. Members whose 1113 constituencies have undergone recent reorganisation that it takes a long time for that feeling to pass. The industry is dominated by Ford. I share with the hon. Member for Dagenham (Mr. Parker) the distinction of having in my constituency the largest Ford plant in the country which employs about 28,000 people. Ford is the third largest company in the world, and it employs about 480,000 people world-wide. In 1977 and 1978 the company was the top seller in three specific areas—private cars, commercial vehicles, and tractors. That is a tremendous achievement and no other company has managed that triple.
There are several factories in the constituency. British Oxygen produces most of the magnets for Europe. It is perhaps the clearest example of attracting industry to outer London. Lastly, there are many small businesses. Indeed, Horn-church is almost the home of small businesses.
There is a Chinese proverb which says that by nature all men are alike but by education they are widely different. In my opinion, the Bill rightly restores the freedom to local authorities to determine how the difference should be recognised and applied.
I appreciate that by tradition maiden speeches are non-controversial. Therefore, I have a problem because until I was elected I was the leader of the London borough of Sutton. As hon. Members will know, that borough was the subject of discussion on education matters for several years and we had differences of opinion with the former Government. Contrary to what is sometimes said, those differences of opinion were not on the comprehensive versus non-comprehensive ground. In the past I have voted for and supported comprehensive education, and a number of my colleagues on the council did so, too.
It is more important that local councils should have the opportunity to determine their direction and how the education should be provided. It would be wrong to label any council as being for or against comprehensive education. It should be recognised as being a local matter. It is not as if there are not enough matters for Governments to be involved in nowadays. There are many 1114 areas in which they could be usefully employed without taking up that subject.
What should be the overall aim of an education system? In Hornchurch, our concern is to achieve a system that will serve all children, the gifted and the talented as well as the less gifted and talented. The child of lesser ability should be given the chance to be educated to his ability. That is the most important aim in education. In education, as elsewhere, I was not elected to buttress the position of the rich and powerful, because by definition they do not need my assistance. My role is to assist and protect the weak, the handicapped and the incapable.
That is the traditional role of Parliament, and we should not be selective in the way that we see it applied. That follows whether we are talking of defending the country against outside aggression or of defending the elderly against attack by vandals. It is long overdue that something should be done for the mentally handicapped. We should he concerned also in education to make provision for the less able, the slow readers and those who are unable to grasp mathematics and all the other intricate subjects.
I was born in the same year as the Education Act 1944. In the words of the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mrs. Taylor), I suffered a grammar school education. I did not feel that I was suffering at the time, but perhaps past events have shown that I did. Thirty-five years is a long time, and we have come a long way. However, the difference in standards between private education and State education still remains great. We have a responsibility within the available resources to reduce that gulf.
The recent cuts, while they are necessary, do nothing to assist that aim. It is important that within financial difficulties we should never lose sight of an overall target. We should aim not just for better pupil-teacher ratios—in a sense that is almost a side issue—not just for better teacher training, although that is important and cannot be overlooked, or even for more parental support, although that would be welcome in many places where it does not exist at the moment. What we should try to achieve in an education 1115 system is the creation of a real thirst for education among those who are at present indifferent, if not totally hostile, to it. If that can be achieved, if those people can be brought back and shown the joys of learning so that their futures can be enhanced, we are giving them the finest legacy that can be given to future generations.
John Stuart Mill wrote in "On Liberty" in 1859:Human nature is not a machine to be built after a model and set to do exactly the work prescribed for it, but a tree which requires to grow and develop itself on all sides, according to the tendency of the inward forces which make it a living thing.I support the Bill.
§ 8.3 pm
§ Mr. Ernest Armstrong (Durham, North-West)
It is always a privilege to follow a maiden speaker and I am pleased to congratulate the hon. Member for Horn-church (Mr. Squire) on his contribution. It is appropriate that an hon. Member should make his maiden speech on education. I have been taking part in education debates for 15 years and, despite our arguments—and there will be arguments today—I have found that there is a consensus on education.
I welcome the hon. Gentleman's tribute to his predecessor—who was highly regarded in the House—and his comments about his constituency. If the hon. Gentleman's experience is similar to my own, he will find that his Government will have rough passages. Indeed, it has got rough for his Government rather sooner than it does for most. Their honeymoon period did not last long. The hon. Gentleman will find consolation in his constituency and in getting away from the House and back to the folk who sent him here. That was certainly my consolation in the days when things were rough for my Government.
I wish to take up some of the Under-Secretary's arguments. For a Government who came to power claiming to want less legislation, they are certainly rushing this Bill on to the statute book. When I think about the threat of redundancies among teachers, the uncertainty in the profession, the closure of schools—I was notified today that the Government have decided to close a school that is the centre of a village community—the 1116 threat to the school meals service—I put in a lot of work as a young teacher to establish such a service—and the threat to free school transport, I have to say that the Bill is a shocking indictment of the Government and their priorities in education.
Anyone with a glimmer of interest in education—and that means everyone—must be concerned about the economic situation that is forcing the education service to accept cuts which 10 years ago one could not have envisaged being made to this great service which is so important to the country. My first criticism is that the Government have got their priorities wrong. The education service in England and Wales is unique. The Under-Secretary suggested that the aim of the education service should be to get as many children as possible up to GCE O- and A-level standard. The hon. Gentleman knows that the 1944 Act expresses the view that we should be concerned with the whole person.
One of the problems since the war is that the general practitioner in the schools has become less well thought of than ever before. When I was a young teacher I was told that I would have to teach all sorts of subjects of which I had no experience. I was to be a general practitioner and my headmaster never tired of telling me that I was teaching children and not subjects. In terms of academic attainment, the earlier that one has specialisation, the more successful a school will be, but early specialisation is a menace to many children and many schools.
I wish to widen the debate. Of course GCEs are important, but they are not the measure of the worth of a school. Far from it. We talk of mental, spiritual and moral development. We are not failing because we are not clever enough. There are plenty of clever folk. We are failing because of our attitudes, our philosophies, what we believe about people and what we believe about incentives and so on. It is because I think that education has a great contribution to make that I am taking part in the debate.
The balance between central and local government is delicate. Ministers of all Governments have said that education is a national service administered locally. The idea that we can say to local authorities that they may organise their education 1117 systems in any way that they wish is nonsense. The Secretary of State knows that, and the Under-Secretary knows it from his own experience. We must have a national framework which enables schools and education authorities to develop in their own way.
The uniqueness of the British system is that no two schools are alike. When the late Anthony Crosland issued his famous circular 10/65 he was criticised by some of his hon. Friends because it was not definite enough. There were not enough guidelines it was said. He suggested six methods of going comprehensive and I defy the Under-Secretary to instance anywhere in the country where a straitjacket was put on or where an authority was denied the opportunity of providing for the full development of every type of child. Far from being a straitjacket, Anthony Crosland's proposals were flexible and diverse. We had middle schools, sixth form colleges, community schools and all sorts of methods of organisation.
The Under-Secretary says that he wants schools to be run as parents want them to be run, but he knows that he is talking about an unreal world. Decisions in schools are made by headmasters and staffs. I took a great interest in the Taylor committee. There is a dilemma and I am waiting for further proposals. Every parent has a right to say how his child should be educated, but how we can arrange, within our present system, to involve the community and to allow parents their natural rights is a difficult problem. We cannot lay down the rules and regulations in the House. We can merely provide the opportunities.
We do not even determine the curriculum. The only compulsory subject in our schools is religious education and when we look at our nation we have to accept that we have not made a very good job of that subject. It is left to folk on the spot to decide what is taught. We do not decide how a subject should be taught. There is no more lonely or more powerful figure than the teacher who closes the classroom door at 9 o'clock on a Monday morning. He decides how subjects will be taught and, apart from the constraints of examinations, what subjects shall be taught. The idea that a straitjacket of central direction was put on when the Labour Government decided to 1118 abolish selection at 11 is a nonsense and everybody knows that.
I could take hon. Members to good grammar schools where the less able are better catered for than they would be in some comprehensive schools. I could take hon. Members to comprehensive schools where streaming is more rigid than it is in some grammar schools. In relation to such decisions, the Secretary of State and the Under-Secretary will be told, as I was always told by the civil servants " You do not have the power, Minister ". It is not in the power of Ministers or in the power of the chairmen of governors or local authorities. We are talking about attitudes and philosophies and they take time to develop.
Some of our comprehensive schools have a good name in the community because they are more like the old grammar schools and have retained the old grammar school staff. I know how difficult it must be for a teacher who has spent 15 or 20 years teaching selected children suddenly to have to start teaching at a comprehensive school. It is against his nature and it takes time for him to adjust. Nobody believes that we should return to selection. No Minister would dare to say from the Dispatch Box that we should reinstitute the 11-plus. All Ministers know that to segregate children in different schools denies opportunity.
§ Mr. Christopher Price
The Under-Secretary of State has modified his Black Paper statement that grammar schools and comprehensive schools cannot exist side by side by saying that 5 per cent. is an acceptable percentage. Does my right hon. Friend think that that is the beginning of the new Conservative selection policy and that it could lead to Ministers saying that we need an 11-plus system for 5 per cent. of the school population?
§ Mr. Armstrong
It is a piece of Conservative double-talk. It has not been thought through. There is the idea that in some areas of a local authority there can be a selective system and in other parts a comprehensive system. Those who advance that view are not living in the real world. It cannot be done.
I am worried because the Bill is playing into the hands of the few backwoodsmen who still have charge of education in certain areas. The Bill is putting the 1119 clock back. We should be examining how best we can give opportunities for self-fulfilment and the development of all children. My hon. Friends and I seek to place no obstacle in the way of looking after the gifted child. I want to look after the gifted child. However, at a time of limited resources I should concentrate resources on the underprivileged rather than the privileged. I should concentrate on those who need help most. The children who need help most are not the 3 per cent., 4 per cent., or 5 per cent. that the Under-Secretary of State would send to a special school.
I was interested yesterday when I read an article written by Mike Brearley that appeared in The Observer. It seems that his philosophy is in line with mine. He wrote about the difficult time it was for him when he was captain of the England cricket team in Australia. He was making no runs and there was much criticism of him. It was said that he should go. He wrote:The feeling of inadequacy is hard to kill. It obstinately refuses to listen to reason … If I am no good at batting, or painting … people feel that I have failed as a person, that I am no good as a person.One of my strong objections to selection, the rat race in education, to competition and an elitist society is that those who do not win the prizes—there are always more who do not win than win—feel inadequate as persons. Britain needs good management. It needs not only good top management but good middle management, good technicians and good workmen. We have learnt over the years that even the folk who do the most menial tasks in society can hold the country to ransom. We have learnt that they do the jobs that must be done if our community is to remain civilised.
An education system which divides, segregates and labels as ours does—probably more than any other education service in the world—produces a divided society, which is something from which we should escape. All that the Act provides, that the Bill seeks to repeal, is that we must stop selecting children on the basis of brains, and even that is not truly accurate.
I have been reading "The Times Guide to the House of Commons"—I hardly dare mention it in view of the comments made by my right hon. Friend the Mem- 1120 ber for Manchester, Ardwick (Mr. Kaufman) about all the mistakes that it contains. I am amazed to learn that 204 Conservative Members went to public schools. It appears that 60 per cent of Conservative Members went to a public school. I am not quoting these figures in envy. If I had been sent away from my eight brothers and sisters at the age of eight years to a public school, I should have considered that the most terrible punishment that could be meted out to me.
I was always taught that if we want to understand people we must sit where they sit. For 60 per cent. of Conservative Members to have been educated in the private sector is a terrible indictment of the separatist and segregated nature of our education service.
§ Mr. Nicholas Baker
I have always been suspicious of the argument about feelings of inadequacy. The right hon. Gentleman's argument indicates that however illustrious or successful we are—we can even be the captain of the England cricket team—we still feel inadequate.
§ Mr. Armstrong
The hon. Gentleman should read Mike Brearley's background. He is far from being inadequate.
I have been the chairman of an education committee as well as being a Minister in the Department of Education and Science. It is my experience that if a really bright child elects to go into industry, chooses to go to a polytechnic instead of a university or takes science instead of the arts and the classics, it is felt that in some way he or she is letting the school down. That attitude is changing, and that is part of my argument. There is a different outlook mainly because of the new ideas that have come into education. However, attitudes take time to change, and my complaint about the Bill is that it sets the clock back. It brings into the argument again selection, elitism and ensuring that gifted children get ahead, and suggests that that approach contributes to a good society.
§ Mr. Martin Flannery (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
I am interested to know that about 60 per cent. of Conservative Members went to a public school. Does my right hon. Friend agree that the position is even worse? In the Cabinet, which consists of about 21 Ministers, there are 1121 only two members who did not go to a public school. I understand that the Secretary of State went to a grammar school. I see that the Secretary of State shakes his head in dissent. The position is even worse than I thought. Does my right hon. Friend agree that a group of elitists are introducing a Bill for the State system when they have never passed through the State system and, therefore, have no real understanding of it?
§ Mr. Armstrong
My hon. Friend is right. This is my great concern. We hear much about co-operation and working together. The previous Government acted to avoid placing a straightjacket on the education service. We took steps to give every authority and every school the opportunity to cater for each individual, from the brightest to the slow learner. That was the system introduced by Tony Crosland only a short time ago.
The Secretary of State has a duty to provide a framework in which the education service can be free of a separate, segregated and elitist character. But such an aim is impossible. As the Under-Secretary of State knows, nobody on the Labour side of the House has suggested that comprehensive schools can solve all our education problems. Success depends on the attitude, the philosophy, the dedication and the ability of teachers. We owe a great deal to the teaching profession.
I have not found parents who say that they insisted on their child going to a secondary modern school. If there are those who wish to declare that they wanted a secondary modern education for their child, I would like to hear them. The elitism of the Government's philosophy that means favouring the privileged, strengthening the strong, and allowing the weak to look after themselves on the basis that they will be caught up in the drive for a better society, is a denial of all I believe about education.
I regret that this should be the first Bill that has come from the Secretary of State. I hope that he will look at it again. The morale of teachers, who see selection again becoming a political issue when they thought the matter settled, has suffered considerably. The Under-Secretary lives in the real world. He knows that 1122 conditions cannot be imposed on how children are taught or what they are taught. The Bill gives to one or two—there will not be many—reactionary authorities the chance to set back the clock and prevent teachers looking after children of all abilities in the comprehensive schools. I will vote against the Bill. I regret its passage.
§ Mr. Harry Greenway (Ealing, North)
May I pay my tribute to my hon. Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Squire) for his lucidity. I know that he has a long and dedicated background in education.
I welcome the Bill and the right that it gives to local authorities to determine the pattern of education in their areas. The Labour Party has done no service to education, particularly to comprehensive schools, in trying to force a unitary pattern in the secondary sector. This sort of compulsion has done more to damage the attitudes of parents, children and teachers than anything else. It amounts to compulsion versus choice.
The Bill gives local authorities the right to choose the pattern of education in their areas. Therefore, the electors and, ultimately, the parents will also have the right to choose the pattern of education for their area. I stand by my long career in comprehensive schools and the fine ideal that they represent. But we do such schools no favour by saying that the whole country must be run on one principle alone.
The Bill is concerned with schools. I believe that the House should give much more thought than I heard expressed in Committee and in subsequent discussion to the way in which schools are run.
The right hon. Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Armstrong) made an admirable reference to the management of schools. I felt that he knew what he was talking about. But schools are changing quickly. The atmosphere in schools, irrespective of their size or location, is changing rapidly. More attention needs to be given to the way which schools are run.
I am concerned about those schools where there is no solid central ethos and where children are not achieving their full potential. That needs to be looked at again. There is too much of it.
1123 Schools have changed, but we must look again at the management and running of them. I wonder whether it is any longer sensible to have two distinct kinds of department in schools—the pastoral department and the academic department. I spent a great deal of my professional life trying to run the two together. In former times, when we did not feel that we had to have a pastoral structure, every teacher felt that he was a pastor to the children before him, and it worked very well. We need to blur the edges, and I hope that we shall find some way of doing it without lessening the career prospects of teachers.
The motivation of children and teachers has changed, and we should study the current aspirations of both. They are different from what they were not all that long ago. The types of career towards which children are now moving as a result of their education are different from what they were only a few years ago. The way in which teachers are moving through the profession is quite different. Not enough attention has been given to the way that developments are moving.
The one constant factor in education is the parents. Naturally, they have changed least. Their aim is constant. They want the best for their children. Schools must work primarily to provide what is best for children and to serve the children and the parents who are associated with them. I know that many schools could work very much more closely with parents than they do, and I should like to see much more such co-operation. I am not thinking particularly about parent-teacher associations. Parents can be brought in to assist in dealing with behavioural problems, under-achievement, and so on. In my view they should be brought in much more often than they are.
The quality of schools must improve still more via better teaching, in my view. I should like to see much more concentration in teacher training on classroom craft and teaching techniques and much less on educational sociology.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
I have listened carefully to the hon. Gentleman's last three or four remarks, which I find extremely interesting and which I support. But what relevance have they to the Bill? 1124 Surely the major criticism of the Bill is that it does not really deal with education matters and the way that schools are run.
§ Mr. Greenway
I disagree with the hon. Gentleman. The Bill is concerned entirely with schools and the way that they are organised, including the way that local authorities choose to run them. As I said at the beginning of my remarks, local authorities will provide schools according to the wishes of voters and parents. That is what the Bill is about. It gives me an opportunity to make a few remarks which are designed to improve schools. It is the concern of the Government to improve schools. That is what the Bill sets out to do, and that is what it will achieve.
The curriculum needs looking at constantly. By that, I do not mean that we must not stick to basics. We must, of course. In a few moments I shall pick up one or two of the comments of Opposition Members, since I have been criticised for looking at schools as such.
We need to stick to basics in schools—to the three Rs, written and spoken English, mathematics and a solid core of subjects. Not everything can be pushed on to the school curriculum. I wish that Socialists would learn that. Every time a new fad comes up or a new social difficulty arises, they say that it should be pushed into the schools and handled there. Schools cannot do all that. It is not the function of schools to do it. That sort of thinking needs watching.
We must support deprived children, push those in the middle and stretch the bright even more than we are doing now. In terms of the curriculum, many local education authorities are thinking either of pushing ahead with the organisation that they have, as they will be able to do under the Bill, or of producing a new organisation. Some of them are thinking of first, middle and high schools.
A great deal more thought is needed about the relationship between the methods of teaching and the curriculum in middle schools and the teaching methods and curriculum in related high schools. There is a great deal of falling down here. If middle schools are regarded as providing the diagnostic education that comes in the years of early secondary education, the matter is even more crucial than might be realised.
1125 I am especially worried about attendance and behaviour in schools. If we can get this right, everything else will come right also. I liked the remarks of the right hon. Member for Durham. North-West about the need to put across sound moral and ethical teaching. Where there has been a lack of this, with no positive approach to the matter, schools and society have suffered as a result. Society and children suffer also by children finding that they do not know how to relate to the school. They also find that they are unable to relate to the family. Therefore an inquiry into behavioural trends would be worth while.
We should look at the number of children being suspended and expelled from schools in certain areas. It is not good enough. When children are suspended they are without education. If they are expelled they are without education for seriously long periods of time. Rather than spending money looking at problems that any practising teacher could advise on, I believe that a study by the Schools Council into that matter might provide a sound basis for worthwhile changes to the Children and Young Persons Act of 1969.
Individuality is essential. Schools, and LEAs through the schools, must ensure through their organisation that children have the right to their individuality.
§ Mr. Christopher Price
On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. I apologise for making it. I always understood that there were strict rules about Third Reading debates and the sort of things one could say. All I have been able to hear is about the Children and Young Persons Act 1969.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Richard Crawshaw)
The hon. Gentleman is quite right. The debate has been wide. A Third Reading debate should be confined to what is in the Bill.
§ Mr. Greenway
I had reached the stage where I was answering points made by Labour Members. Since they were in order when they made the points, I take it that I may be allowed to answer them. I hope that the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) will remember what is relevant when he next speaks. I had to listen to him at length in Committee, and that was a tedious business.
1126 Mike Brearley was mentioned. He was born in Greenford, North Ealing. He received a sound selective schooling and went on to university and did very well. He is an example of someone who went through the selective system and achieved a great deal.
Conservative Members have been criticised for attending independent schools. Throughout much of my time in teaching I was amazed at the number of Labour Cabinet Ministers who sent their children to public schools, having been there themselves. The former Secretary of State for Education and Science, Mrs. Shirley Williams, chose to send her daughter to a highly selective grammar school that was surrounded by comprehensive schools. What about that?
School courses were mentioned by the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mrs. Taylor). She mentioned the infinite number of courses available in comprehensive schools. In many comprehensive schools the head and staff believe that a common course should be available to everybody or to nobody. Such common courses have often proved to be disasters and should be watched. Diversity is of great importance.
The question of resources for grammar and secondary modern schools has been raised. Under the points system each pupil is allocated a given number of points. A total number of points is arrived at for an individual school. On the basis of that system staff are appointed.
My experience is based mainly upon London. A per capita sum is paid for each child, regardless of whether that child attends a grammar, secondary modern or comprehensive school. The same method is used to assess primary schools.
§ Mrs. Ann Taylor
We could all quote relevant statistics to prove our case. Two schools in my constituency are next to each other. The high school spends £440 per pupil per year and the grammar school spends £547 per pupil per year. That proves the point that I made about resources.
§ Mr. Greenway
That is a selective argument. I know that what I have said is right.
1127 One of the most attractive features of the comprehensive schools is that usually they are new. Most of them have been built since 1957. They have fantastic facilities. They have fine gymnasiums, laboratories and great new classrooms. By comparison, the school down the road is mouldy with its ancient buildings.
§ Mr. Mark Carlisle
Does my hon. Friend agree that the figures quoted by the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mrs. Taylor) are nonsense and irrelevant unless one takes into account the size of the sixth forms in those schools? It is accepted that the cost of education in the sixth form is higher than it is in other forms. Since more pupils stay on at the grammar school, inevitably the cost per pupil is higher.
§ Mr. Greenway
I wish to resume my speech.
At sixth form level pupils are worth six points, whether they attend a grammar school, a secondary modern or a comprehensive school.
§ Mr. Kinnock
The hon. Member has answered the question I intended to ask by accepting the intervention made by the right hon. and learned Member for Runcorn (Mr. Carlisle). It is difficult to judge these matters without taking several other factors into account. What does the hon. Member think about the view of the Prime Minister and Secretary of State about the publication of the results of schools without a guarantee that all the relevant criteria are taken into account? Does that not hit his argument on the head?
§ Mr. Greenway
That is a long way from the main argument. I have not heard any of my hon. Friends say that in the publication of results a suitable description of the school and its background should not be given.
I remain loyal to my teaching background as I wish to take up the argument of Opposition Members about the difficulty involved in having a selective school in an area where there is a general principle of non-selection. To a large 1128 extent I accept that argument, but it should not be pushed too far.
There was a very fine old school which had been in existence for 400 years. It had three-form entry and 90 pupils a year. It was surrounded by 18 comprehensive schools and the argument to diminish the selective school was put again and again. In the end it was closed in deference to the argument that its every existence was wrecking the 18 comprehensives that surrounded it. That sort of action does no favour to the comprehensive principle. That school was closed. The 90 pupils who would have gone to it every year were spread round the comprehensive schools and heaven knows where they are. That does not help the argument that is put forward in favour of the comprehensive principle.
Schools are not youth clubs. They must be based upon learning and sound discipline. With correct attitudes in child-rent, good citizens will result.
Secondary modern schools, past and present, should not be knocked so much. Many of them were very good, are very good and will be very good. Many people have achieved fine careers after attending a secondary modern school.
In the end, as hard as we strive to achieve it, absolute equality is impossible. There may be two children with identical backgrounds, of the same sex and all the rest of it. They may be sent to the same school where they attend different classes. One of them may be taught by a teacher with 25 years' experience and the other may be taught by a teacher who is new to teaching. Already they are in a highly unequal situation. Therefore, one cannot achieve total equality. We must always go for equality of opportunity. As fain Macleod said, the purpose of the State in education is to give citizens equal opportunity of proving themselves unequal or different, because different we all are.
§ 8.42 p.m.
§ Mr. A. J. Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
The progress of this Bill through the House has been a rather depressing and miserable affair. It sets a depressing and miserable tone for education under this Government. Confirmation of that view can be gathered from the discussions among teachers in practically any staff room in the country that take 1129 place not because of the Bill alone but for far wider reasons, some concerned with the funds available for education.
The Bill purports to give local authorities freedom to make a choice in the kind of system they employ for secondary education. The Bill gives that choice allegedly to local authorities that have had virtually all their practical freedom taken away by a financial climate in which they cannot afford to do anything very much. The amount of central resources which goes into schools by way of capital grant or through the rate support grant has been reduced. Frankly, any authority which at present contemplated a change in the system it operates would be attempting the impossible because it would be attempting to climb up a down escalator.
All authorities at present face the impossibility of maintaining existing services. That is why we have case after case of local authorities, or, indeed, local authority associations, trying to decide what to give up. They ask themselves whether they can give up adult education or nursery education, or whether they can abandon free transport or school meals. All authorities are desperately looking for ways of abandoning parts of the services which they can no longer afford. The freedom is elusive because it is a freedom against a background of financial stringency.
Secondly, the Bill purports to have something to do with freedom of choice for parents, or at least some of its supporters suggest this. It does nothing of the kind. In a financially better world, it may have given some freedom of choice to local authorities and thereby some ultimate freedom to the electors to decide what the overall system should be, but it has nothing to do with freedom of choice for individual parents in the education of their children. The Bill is about the preservation of a selective system which denies freedom of choice.
The parent who is given the freedom to send his child to a secondary modern school is really being insulted if he is told that that is what freedom is all about. It has nothing to do with that kind of freedom. Indeed, I think that we shall have some very interesting discussions when, later in this Session, we discuss a second and, I hope, valuable education 1130 Bill which will contain at least some good things even though it may have some bad things in it. When we get to that Bill, we shall begin to talk about parental choice, how it can be implemented and how procedures can be set up to give parents rights of appeal.
Frankly, there will be some fascinating appeals in local authorities that employ selective systems as parents drawn from the majority group who are consigned to the secondary modern schools ask "Where is our parental choice? We wish to insist upon our right to send our child to the nearby school which has better facilities, higher academic standards and higher objectives". What will we do about that in the appeals system that is being devised? Perhaps we can undo some of the damage that is being done by this Bill, but if we attempt to do so I believe that we shall meet sonic resistance from the Government.
This Bill has been a strange illustration of current Conservative education thinking. There has been a great deal of haste over getting it through, but very little thought expressed about what secondary education is all about. I have been amazed by the Government's determination to get the Bill through before the Summer Recess and, indeed, to get it through next week. Hon. Members will remember that we spent the whole of last Thursday night engaged in a battle of wits, the outcome of which was to postpone Third Reading until tonight. What was fascinating about that was the determination of some elements in the Government, and to a very late hour, that there should not be a moment's delay in the Bill's passing and that the simple procedure, which they eventually accepted, that Third Reading should be deferred until tonight seemed to be thought by many to be an absolutely intolerable interruption in the progress of an urgent Bill which had been deliberately placed as the highest in the Government's domestic legislative programme. There was a real sense that, if necessary, the debate on the Abortion (Amendment) Bill might have to be sacrificed if the proceedings went on. There has been a lot of haste over this Bill, which I find hard to understand.
But it is even harder to understand when there has been so little outlined by the Government about what they really 1131 want to do in secondary education. Listening to the Under-Secretary of State one gets the clear impression that he does not like the comprehensive system very much, at least for many areas of the country. He chose to quote remarks from his right hon. and learned Friend which suggest a similar objection to anything which might be called "progressive". I find that term singularly unhelpful The application of the term "progressive" is in my view, neutral as to whether something is good or bad. It simply means that something was not done before. But it is obviously a label currently used by Ministers to apply to some things in the education system that they do not like and is used as a term of abuse.
Since this comes from a Government who are making a decision that in some way the direction of the education system should be checked, I should like indications of where they want it to go. I would have expected some spelling out of the kind of selective system that they would like, or preferably some indication that the direction taken by the vast majority of education authorities throughout the country enjoys some approval and support among Ministers. But, from the debate in Committee, one does not get the impression that the action of the majority of authorities, many of them Conservative controlled, in introducing, developing and maintaining comprehensive education is viewed with any approval whatever by the Government. Indeed, from what the Under-Secretary of State said tonight, it would seem that they are rushing dangerously ahead with an untried system, failing to build in elements of selection and failing to have selective schools in their areas so that they can check whether the comprehensive schools are doing well enough.
This Bill is a world away from the education offices and education committees of most authorities in the country. It is a gesture. It is an attempt by a section of the Conservative Party to appease a section of Conservative opinion which thinks that comprehensive schools are an unmitigated disaster and that the sooner we get the grammar schools back the better. It is an attempt to appease that opinion without doing very much about it.
1132 However, I fear that it will be a green light to a number of types of selective system, including various bogus schemes such as guided parental choice. I should like to have heard a speech on behalf of members of the Cabinet who represent the Cumbria education authority area. because I am sure that at the back of their minds they want to get this fascinating system of guided parental choice under way—for which sections of Cumbria are pressing—so that they can say to parents "We think you should choose to send your child to this school, which we are not actually calling a secondary modern school but which is." I fear that that lies at the back of much Conservative thinking.
I do not believe that the direct effects of this Bill will be very great, because the number of authorities that want to turn back the clock in this way and maintain a selective system based on the 11-plus, or something that does the same job, is quite small. Its indirect effects, however, will be wider—in encouraging some authorities to doubt the wisdom of the course that they are pursuing, but, much more, in lowering the morale of those authorities and teachers, the vast majority, that have committed themselves to making the comprehensive system work because they believe that it is right to give to all children throughout the secondary years the full range of educational opportunities.
To be constantly sniped at in the attempt to do that, for it constantly to be hinted that the merits of the grammar school system are being lost, and for the Government to be seen not to give them any backing at all, is a great discouragement to those who are at the forefrom of making our system work. They are the majority in this country—and then are many Conservatives among them as well as Liberals and Socialists—and they deserve better than they are getting from the present Government.
§ 8.50 p.m.
§ Mr. J. F. Pawsey (Rugby)
First, I add my tribute to those already paid to my hon. Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Squire). His maiden speech was a model and a pattern for other hon Members. I only wish that I had had the pleasure of hearing him speak before I made my own maiden speech.
1133 I took exception to only one of my hon. Friend's remarks. That was his reference to Ford motor cars. As the proud possessor of a Ford car which has recently broken down on a motorway, I hope that my hon. Friend will forgive me for saying that I found his remarks in this respect rather jaundiced.
I turn to the speech of the hon. Member for Berwick-upon-Tweed (Mr. Beith). I agreed with what he said about the question of financial climate. Rugby is part of Warwickshire, and I know well that Warwickshire has suffered grieviously through cuts in the rate support grant. But I am sure that the hon. Member would agree with me that the Education Act 1976 imposed change, and the cost of imposing that change would have added even more strain to local authorities, whereas this Bill is a bill to restore choice to local authorities by allowing them to maintain, if they wish, their present system so that there would be no additional financial strain upon them should they decide to remain as they are.
Secondly, I did not quite understand the hon. Member's criticism when he argued that the Bill had an undue amount of importance and urgency attached to it. Conservative Members certainly find that education is both important and urgent. I for one am pleased that we have been able to introduce this Bill and to aim at getting it on the statute book as rapidly as we are trying to do.
I come now to the excellent and very eloquent speech of the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mrs. Taylor). I was particularly impressed by her references to choice for local education authorities. The essence of the Bill is its freedom and choice. The Bill will restore freedom and choice to LEAs. It should not be interpreted as an attack on comprehensive education or on the comprehensive principle.
To some extent, I can argue that the Bill is almost a Bill about devoluton, because it seeks to devolve power.
§ Mr. Pawsey
I heard with interest the utterance of the hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock). We all know of the part that he played in the devolution debate, and I acknowledge that freely.
1134 This is a question of devolving power from the centre—that is, from this Camber to local councils and, above all, to local people. A by-product of the Bill will be the restoration of additional credibility to LEAs, for they will be seen actually to possess the power of responding to local people's wishes and the wishes of parents. They will be able to respond to the desires of the local community. I accept that parents know best what is right for their own children. To use an emotive phrase, this Bill really represents "power to the people". It shows that local authorities still possess authority—the authority to decide on their own education system.
I refer here to my own local authority, Warwickshire. Until very recently, I was a member of the county council's education committee. I take up a point made by the hon. Member for Bolton, West. She seemed to cast some doubt on the ability of an LEA to operate various schemes within its area. Warwickshire operates comprehensive schemes in, for example, the northern area. But in the eastern area of Warwickshire, in Rugby, however, which is the constituency that I represent, we have a completely different system. We have grammar schools, a bilateral school, denominational schools and high schools.
The Education Act 1976 sought to remove choice and impose the straitjacket of uniformity. It sought to impose change against the wishes of the people. I say that deliberately because, if the majority of people in a specific area wished to see change, that change would have been freely made. Parents are part of the electorate. Labour Members cannot seriously doubt that if parents had wanted change that change would have to have been imposed by the local authority.
§ Mr. Andrew F. Bennett
When parents in due course ask the hon. Gentleman not to cut remedial classes at schools or not cut back on education spending here and there, will he tell his right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State that those cuts must not go through?
§ Mr. Pawsey
The economic climate is such that much as I should like to maintain high standards in education across the board, I realise, alas, that we must cut 1135 our coat according to the cloth. At present the cloth is steadily shrinking. The present Government are endeavouring to alter the financial climate so that we can do the things that the hon. Gentleman refers to. I would press for the improvement of remedial classes and the extension of nursery classes.
§ Mr. Flannery
Will there be cuts in private education and the education of young people in public schools? Will they suffer as the Government and the Bill will make our children suffer and will there be cuts across their board?
§ Mr. Pawsey
I do not have a wide experience of private education which perhaps the hon. Gentleman possesses. I am not the product of a public school or even a grammar school. For me it was an elementary school and a technical school. Labour Members criticise us on this side of the House for knowing little about the State system, but I have certainly gone through the local education system. I was one of the three hon. Members mentioned previously. I have six sons and none of them attends private schools. All have been educated in the State system, so I speak with considerable personal knowledge of the State sector.
§ Mr. William Wilson (Coventry, South-East)
I serve on the Warwickshire county council. When the contribution of the Warwickshire education committee to the number of pupils to be sent to the local school is next considered, will the hon. Gentleman accept a diminution of the number of places that it will buy at that school?
§ Mr. Pawsey
I shall listen with interest to the arguments advanced and give a reasoned decision on the facts presented. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman will do the same, and I look forward to seeing him on that occasion voting perhaps with the Conservative majority on the Warwickshire county council.
Rugby took the precaution of carrying out a survey of parents. It was not organised by any political party; it was quite impartial. In the survey 63 per cent. of parents voted to maintain the existing system of education. The balance of 37 per cent. were mostly "don't knows". Therefore, only a small pro- 1136 portion of parents in the eastern area of Warwickshire actually voted for change—a change that would have been imposed under the Education Act 1976. That is a clear example of the effect and the working of the 1976 Act, the teeth of which are drawn by this Bill. It would have imposed change against the wishes of the majority of parents in my constituency. I argue that case not from the basis of supposition but from a sound basis in fact. Rugby has a system that the majority of parents like. We have grammar schools, a bilateral school, high schools and denominational schools. It may not be perfect, but it works and evidently parents like it.
I believe that education should reflect generally the wishes of parents. I cannot see the argument why education should be precisely the same throughout the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. Education authorities should administer locally a national service, and I see no reason why that should not continue to be the case. Local education authorities should reflect the views and desires of local people.
There is one issue which has not been touched upon yet—the very real problem of school leavers looking for work. It is paradoxical that at a time when we have such a high number of vacancies for skilled workers so many boys and girls are seeking work in craft industries. I wonder whether this is an opportunity to raise once again the question of technical schools. I am the product of a technical school and I am well aware of the virtues of that form of education. Technical schools present the opportunity of teaching children the technical skills that are so necessary in future life.
This Bill is not an attack on comprehensive education. I fail to see how giving greater choice can be interpreted as an attack on anything, other than blind prejudice. If Labour Members see this as a threat or an attack, perhaps that is an indication of the defensive posture that for some reason they seek to adopt. If comprehensive education is as good as people maintain, I fail to see what this argument is about, for I do not doubt that pressure from parents will call into being those very comprehensive schools which are so lauded by Labour Members. Labour Members should trust the parents, because a parent will ask and indeed 1137 demand what is best for his or her children. That is the essence of choice.
This Bill is a charter for choice. I ask Labour Members to stop their ill-judged and prejudiced opposition to the Bill. I urge them to rediscover democracy. I believe that the Bill, which has been described as "small and squalid", is designed to liberate and not to restrict.
§ 9.3 pm
§ Mr. Christopher Price (Lewisham, West)
We have had a great deal of autobiography during this debate. We have heard who has been to which public school and to which secondary school. The Secretary of State has admitted that he went to public school, but that he did not go to Oxford like the rest of the Cabinet. I do not intend to pursue my autobiography on this occasion, because I made a long speech last time and I wish to be brief today.
I disagree with my right hon. Friend the Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Armstrong), although he made a well-considered and impressive speech. The burden of his remarks was that the people of Britain were sensible and that this little Bill would not have much effect. I hope that that is true, but I fear that the reverse will be the case. I fear that it is the beginning of the dismantling of comprehensive education. Day by day we learn a little more of the Tory plans, and this worries me enormously.
The Secretary of State has decided not to repeal the duty under the 1976 Act to implement. That duty has some meaning only when read in connection with the 1976 Act, because that legislation involved dates and times. The former section 13 notices put in over the years since 1944 did not contain any dates. Therefore, a duty to implement cannot mean anything unless there is a date on which something shall be implemented.
Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman saying that from now on every section 13 notice must contain a date? That was not the normal practice in the years since 1944. If such notices do not contain a date, what will the "duty to implement" mean after the passing of this Bill? In the old days local authorities had the right to obtain section 13 notices and then to do nothing about it because they did not contain a date.
1138 Is the Secretary of State suddenly introducing a new rule, which has never before been written down, about the setting down of section 13 notices? I hope that he will deal with this matter in his reply.
Although the Conservatives constantly say that this Bill relates only to local options, I believe that it embodies a new Conservative policy for the 11-plus for 5 per cent. of pupils. That is the figure we extracted from the Under-Secretary of State. The Minister has modified his Black paper statement that comprehensive schools and grammar schools cannot live side by side.
What makes me believe that this is a new Tory philosophy flows from statements made in The Observer yesterday by a character called Mr. Stuart Sexton. I understood that legislation was announced to the House of Commons first and that there were strong rules about allowing political advisers to make statements to newspapers in the first person singular. However, Mr. Sexton said:I want to build in an incentive for schools to keep fees down.It is interesting that Mr. Stuart Sexton, who is a man unknown to the House of Commons, wants to do such a thing.
Does the Secretary of State allow civil servants—even political civil servants—to give press interviews such as that set out in Education on 13 July? It refers to a draft Bill drawn up by Mr. Sexton. I thought that Bills were drawn up by parliamentary draftsmen rather than by ex-Croydon councillors drafted in to assist Secretaries of State. There are proprieties in these matters which were observed in the past.
§ Mr. Price
They were observed by the Labour Government.
If the Secretary of State intends to depart from those proprieties he should announce the new system and say that in future legislation will be announced by his political advisers and not to the House of Commons.
The whole burden of the Secretary of State's £50 million direct grant gamble, on which Dr. John Rae of Westminster School commented pungently that it was a rotten gamble—
§ Mr. Price
We cannot expect order from the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton). The report by Auriol Stevens in The Observer yesterday lays out in terms the fact that the Conservative Party wants to reintroduce an 11-plus system through an assisted-places scheme for about 5 per cent. of pupils, even in local education authorities that wish to remain fully comprehensive. We have discovered that voluntary schools will be able to issue section 13 notices to revert to grammar schools, even in authorities such as the ILEA which have opted to go comprehensive.
That proves that the Conservatives are being hypocritical when they say that the Bill is about local option. It is not about local option but is about introducing a new educational policy. They refuse to come clean about that. If it is the policy of the Conservative Party they should come clean and stop all the silly humbug about local option.
The final reason why it is clear that the Bill is not about local option but about the beginning of a new policy is the breakneck speed with which it has been rushed through. It is extraordinary that when the Conservatives win the election the first Bill that they rush through, against all constitutional proprieties, is the Education Bill.
§ Mr. Mark Carlisle
Will the hon. Gentleman tell me what constitutional propriety has been broken by the Bill?
§ Mr. Mark Carlisle
Does not the hon. Gentleman remember that Mr. Speaker ruled not once but twice against his point of order?
§ Mr. Price
Mr. Speaker ruled about order. I was talking not about order but about constitutional propriety—about money resolutions on Bills. However, I do not wish to get drawn into that argument.
The speed with which the Bill is being rushed through has strange resemblances 1140 to the speed with which the courts decided to rush through their judgments on Tameside two years ago. At that time the House of Lords sat unprecedentedly in English history on a Saturday in order to rush through a judgment to have exactly the same effect as this Bill will have—to provide legislation to let some Tory local authorities off the hook.
The Bill has been called a squalid little Bill. It is, and it is one that the Conservative Party will be ashamed of one day.
§ Mr. Nicholas Baker (Dorset, North)
On the last—and first—occasion that I spoke in this place, my remarks coincided with the printers going on strike. No doubt, in your wisdom, Mr. Speaker, you have given me the privilege of speaking again to provide the magic ingredient that will cause the printers to start churning out the outpourings of hon. Members once more.
I wish briefly to make three points, two of which arise from the state of education in my constituency and the third of which is more general. The first point relates to the reorganisation proposals for Shaftesbury schools to which clause 1(4) of the Bill applies.
We have in Shaftesbury a fine and successful boys' grammar school, a girls' grammar school with a good reputation, but inadequate buildings, a secondary school with a good reputation, but also with inadequate buildings, and a primary school in Shaftesbury and others in the outlying villages.
Comprehensive proposals were produced many years ago, but not under the threat of compulsion of the 1976 Act. At first, they received general acceptance, but more recently I, and no doubt the Secretary of State, have received representations from many concerned with schooling in the area who have reservations about the proposals. Their concern is that the high academic standards in the grammar schools should not be lost in the larger new school and they are concerned about the effect upon primary and village schools of their losing the two upper age groups.
There is general agreement that some buildings are seriously deficient and there is support in the area for a modified scheme under which a co-educational 1141 grammar school would be created, a new secondary school built and the primary schools retained in their present form
I am aware that the proposed cuts in the improvement element of the school building programme total about £10 million and it appears that Dorset is being asked to bear £1.2 million, or more than one-tenth of the total. Will my right hon. and learned Friend the Secretary of State inform us whether that apparently excessive share is attributable to the cancellation of the Shaftesbury proposals? If it is, I should like him to reconsider the matter. There are modifications to the proposals which would cost considerably less.
I should also like to know the criteria by which my right hon. and learned Friend will judge these and, no doubt, other similar proposals if the local education authority makes the election referred to in clause 1(4). What measures will be taken to ascertain public opinion? A public inquiry might be an appropriate form of considering the matter, though I appreciate that there is no statutory provision for that.
My second point is connected with the first point. There is deep and general concern about the future of village schools in rural areas. They are often associated with the highest educational standards and they are an essential part of community life and a vital focus, both social and from an amenity point of view. They are under continuing threat.
I accept that drastically reduced school rolls mean that not all the village schools can be retained, but every time that one closes, another village dies a little. My proposal is that parents should be offered a chance of keeping their village school going and keeping costs down by providing some financial support and ancillary services to supplement and back up the teachers. That would give parents an even closer involvement with their children's education, which would do nothing but good. I hope that my right hon. and learned Friend will encourage education authorities and teachers' unions to co-operate in that matter.
My third point relates to education expenditure. We all find it unpleasant to face the economic facts of life, but cuts have to be made and teachers in Dorset accept that as much as anyone 1142 else in the community. I hope that the cuts will fall—as they seem to be [...]alling in Dorset, though with an over-severity—on equipment, aids and educational hardware rather than upon the teaching staff.
One of the many ways in which our education system has gone wrong is that there has been too great a concentration of expenditure on televisions, typewriters, buildings and aids rather than on attracting and training teachers of the highest quality and dedication.
Teachers work at the coalface of education and on their quality and talents the future of our children depends. In Plato's "Republic", Mr. Deputy Speaker, which I have no doubt you consult on a nightly basis, you will recall that only the noblest, the finest and the most gifted citizens were allowed to have the responsibility of teaching the young. That ideal is one to which we should all aspire.
§ 9.21 p.m.
§ Mr. Neil Kinnock (Bedwellty)
This has been a most instructive debate. It is the first occasion on which we have heard from the hon. Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Squire), who in his maiden speech referred to Chinese philosophy and John Stuart Mill. The hon. Member for Dorset, North (Mr. Baker) referred to Plato. I suppose that the three references would provide us with an adequate definition of the present state of Tory education policy. If we throw in a little of Mr. Gradgrind and possibly a dash of Samuel Smiles, we have the full library of inspiration for present Conservative Party policy.
However, the hon. Member for Hornchurch made his maiden speech and the debate was all the more interesting for that. It is interesting that the hon. Gentleman, in spite of being newly elected, appears to have left the Chamber. Evidently he has learned a great deal more in his few weeks in Parliament than most other hon. Members who visit us for the first time. However, we shall look forward to hearing from him again.
We have heard also from the hon. Members for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway), Rugby (Mr. Pawsey) and Dorset, North. I note that on Third Reading Conservative Members have abandoned the Trappist vows that apparently they took directly after Second Reading that prevented them from contributing to our 1143 debates in Committee and on Report. However elevating and instructive their contributions may have been—apart from the Under-Secretary of State, the only contributors to the debates in Committee and on Report were Labour Members—there was a certain bluntness about our scrutiny as we could not rely on Conservative Members.
I have news for the hon. Member for Dorset, North. His hope for public inquiries and his attempt to salvage the rural schools will come to nought. The latter objective will be defeated by the Government's zeal for education cuts. His other objective of public inquiries is one that the Opposition advanced at considerable length in Committee.
We urged full-scale parental consultation. We advanced our arguments on democratic and education grounds in the same way as the hon. Member for Dorset, North. Unfortunately, our appeals fell on deaf ears. Bearing in mind the Government's refusal to accept our arguments and the opportunity that the hon. Gentleman has in the next 25 minutes or so to read the report of our debates in Committee, I hope that we shall have his assistance come the Division.
Throughout the passage of the Bill we have heard a great deal from the Under-Secretary of State, the hon. Member for Brent, North (Dr. Boyson). That is fitting as he is the architect of so much Conservative education policy. Were it not for the high esteem in which I hold the Secretary of State, I should consider the Under-Secretary of State to be a sort of Rod Hull operating behind an educational emu. I realise that that would be a most unfair assumption to make about the relationship between the two members of the Conservative Front Bench. We shall have to wait to hear what the right hon. and learned Gentleman has to say.
We have in evidence the remarks of the right hon. and learned Gentleman on Second Reading and we have the views of the Under-Secretary of State, who was most vociferous on Third Reading with his criticism of the Labour Party for its inflexibility and its blinkered view that there can be only one form of satisfactory secondary schooling. I do not think that he will be able to find any evidence anywhere over any period that will give any 1144 support for his view that the Labour Party, or any spokesman representative of it, has said that there is only one pattern of comprehensive secondary education, or any one pattern of secondary education, that is satisfactory.
As the radical party, we are willing to move with the times and to respond to the demands. That is consistently what we have done. The only element of strict continuity in our views over the last 30 years has been the solemn intention to get rid of selection on the basis of totally arbitrary testing at the age of 11. If that is the hon. Gentleman's definition of comprehensive schools, it leaves a great deal to be desired in his general vocabulary. We had come to expect better of the hon. Gentleman. He knows the objection that we have made. Apart from his allegations of inflexibility against us, we have heard from the hon. Gentleman all about these great new virtues of diversity and variety in the provision of secondary school education and that we can have all kinds of schools at secondary level, varying in different parts of the country and even within the same parts of the country. I suppose that his remarks are the answer to all the educational difficulties that we are now experiencing, except, conceivably, as the small ads in the Sunday Express say, for troublesome facial hair. The hon. Gentleman will know more about that subject than I.
As a consequence, we are left with the great new idea that diversity gives strength to our secondary school system. The hon. Gentleman, as he admitted earlier this evening, has not always felt that way. The hon. Gentleman did us the credit of quoting from his own words in the 1969 Black Paper. He told us, as we have heard repeated many times in this House and elsewhere, that comprehensive schools and grammar schools could not really co-exist because comprehensive schools would then be little better than re-named secondary schools. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman has the precise quotation, but I do not believe that I have recorded unfaithfully what he said.
We can afford to ignore that consideration. It is one of the few areas in which the hon. Gentleman has been able to obtain applause from the Opposition or from any enlightened opinion in education. For it was a statement of the 1145 obvious—that where there existed a selective system of education, after years of being accustomed to a bipartite system, anything that was not a grammar school or anything that was not a recipient school of the successes of that system of selection was bound to be regarded as the secondary modern school. Given the disparity of per capita provision of facilities in everything from domestic science to sport, in sexually segregated education, it was conforming, no matter what the school was called, to all the worst features of the bipartite system and the secondary modern school system, which was certainly secondary but in many cases anything but modern.
§ Dr. Boyson
The hon. Gentleman pushed the comprehensive dogma in his party further in its demand for sexually separated schools than I have heard before. Am I to understand that the Labour Party does not believe in any form of sexually separated schools, even if parents want them? That would be going further than the Labour Party has ever previously gone.
§ Mr. Kinnock
Some parents want their children to go to single sex schools. I have the greatest respect for their views. As the hon. Gentleman knows, the Labour Party, wherever possible, tries to accommodate those views. From his own assessment of education, even though he might be perverse in this view, it is difficult to make sexual segregation—all its falsity, the synthetic social atmosphere, the difficulties and dangers, and the waste and duplication—match up to the demands that we impose on our education system.
It is in that sense and with those criteria that I should like the hon. Gentleman to assess the necessity of segregating secondary school education. The hon. Gentleman has entirely forsaken his 1969 analysis. He tells us now that it does not matter if there are several systems of secondary education in one area. The profound reason which explains his complacency about these matters is not an educational one. He says that we can afford to have that now. We can afford to have as many as three types of secondary education in one area, rather like a kind of educational minestrone, because some counties are 60 miles long. That is his justification now for 1146 having secondary modern schools, comprehensive schools, grammar schools and various other kinds of secondary schools in a glorious nationwide experiment that lacks the one thing that the secondary school sector demands more than anything else which is financial sustenance and stability of structure.
After preaching for several years about the need for stability and standards, in this Bill the Conservatives are again reintroducing a destabilising factor for the sake of conforming to their political prejudice. In the abandonment of the Under-Secretary's original judgment, for which we respected him, he is not so much a Daniel come to judgment as a Daniel come to heel. In all that is happening now, all the variegations, all the variety and all the diversity which he tries to laud and pretend to enthuse about, he recognises the enormous educational illogicalities and inconsistencies of the system, and it is unfortunate that he has been cowed by the responsibilities of office to abandon his educational judgment in these respects.
Government supporters say that they are not anti-comprehensive. They protest vehemently that their attitudes in this Bill and in other matters are not inspired by any opposition to comprehensive education. But they cannot protest with any sincerity or honesty their espousal of the comprehensive system or even respect for it or security for comprehensive schools and at the same time support this Bill. To do so is like the Salvation Army trying to sell pornography. There is an inconsistency which they cannot escape.
§ Mr. Michael Brown (Brigg and Scunthorpe)
I was educated at a single sex secondary modern school, and I am proud of it. The hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock) has gone beyond what I thought his party stood for. He seems to be suggesting that the Labour Party is no longer in favour of single sex schools. I ask him to clarify this on behalf of his party. Is he suggesting that the Labour Party is no longer in favour of single sex schools, which clearly benefit a large number of pupils?
§ Mr. Kinnock
The deficiencies of the hon. Gentleman's education are amply demonstrated by the fact that his most recent employment was as a speech writer 1147 for the hon. Member for Macclesfield (Mr. Winterton).
§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
Will the hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock) admit that we live in a democracy? Will the hon. Gentleman admit further that my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Brown) won a seat held by a Labour Member during the last Parliament, that my hon. Friend was educated at a single sex secondary modern school, that he went on to university and that he subsequently won a seat for the Conservative Party previously held by Labour? Will he admit that democracy exists and that my hon. Friend represents a considerable body of opinion on the subject of education?
§ Mr. Kinnock
I withdraw all that I said about the hon. Member for Brigg and Scunthorpe (Mr. Brown). When he was writing speeches for the hon. Member for Macclesfield they were much better than they are now.
§ The question really before us—
§ Mr. Kinnock
I can only advise the hon. Gentleman to read my careful choice of words in answer to the Under-Secretary of State.
The evidence that we have to support our argument that the Bill is not about education, is not even for the purpose of returning choice to local education authorities and has nothing to do with endorsing or upholding the comprehensive principle where local education authorities want to follow it is to be found not just in the inconsistencies of Government supporters but in their manifesto:We will halt the Labour Government's policies which have led to the destruction of good schools; keep those of proven worth; and repeal those sections of the 1976 Education Act which compel local authorities to reorganise along comprehensive lines"—and there is much more about the assistance the Conservatives were to give to independent schools.
Why would it be necessary to enshrine in a Bill given the preface of this manifesto, the idea that the only target for attack is the comprehensive school? Why could that not await the endorsement of the comprehensive principle in the intro- 1148 duction of genuine choice for the local education authorities? We know that the reason is that for years past the Conservative Party has been conspiring to restore the selective principle to secondary education. We know that this is the first chance it has had of doing it. It is doing it to the confusion, frustration and disappointment of hundreds of thousands of parents and children.
We shall repeal the Act. We shall restore the original freedom, not of the LEAs but of people to enjoy to the absolute maximum of their abilities the education that is best suited to them. That is plausible and possible only through a system that does not segregate children at the age of 11.
We have heard that the real purpose of the Bill is the dispersal of power and the return of decision making to the local authorities. We have heard that it is in response to the demands of those authorities. We hear a great deal about the demands of the local authorities for the return of decision making to them, for the removal of the obligations imposed upon them by the law which has existed since 1944. We hear a great deal now in keeping with the principle of the Bill, as enunciated by the Under-Secretary, about restoring or giving powers, or granting new powers of determination to local education authorities.
We hear this in its most dangerous and barbaric fashion from the Association of County Councils and the Tory-dominated organisations. We hear it, too—sadly, disastrously—from the Association of Metropolitan Authorities. We heard it last Saturday when the Secretary of State said that he knew that some Tory members of local education authoritiesare urging that certain statutory obligations should be removed to give you more discretion—even complete freedom—at local level to make savings where you can from these items, and from some more fundamentally educational ones too. Though I offer no Government view today on these suggestions or on how the balance of savings should in the end be struck, I would like you to know that I am carefully considering these arguments.That was reported on 14 July—Bastille Day, which I thought was most appropriate.
Coming as it does from the Secretary of State, who has responded to the regression and the reactionary demands for the destruction of the comprehensive 1149 schools, the prevention of comprehensive schooling, and for licence for Tory-dominated local education authorities to permit the retention of the selective system, that was a most ominous statement. It leads us to believe that the Secretary of State will crumble before those barbaric demands in company with the Hengist from Henley, the Secretary of State for the Environment, and allow the virtual destruction of all the supportive services for education. The effect of his presiding over those cuts, for which he should be ashamed, will be the loss of 50,000 teachers' jobs, the removal of subsidised school transport and the denial of educational opportunity.
We hear and have heard a great deal from the Conservative Party, including in a section of its manifesto, about its dedication to standards. I say to the Secretary of State, as one person at his meeting last Friday said, that he cannot have the economic improvement, the technological advance, the individual self-fulfilment, the opportunity society, raised standards and freedom of choice for parents and children if he goes on cutting to the bone, if he acts in the barbaric fashion demanded by the knights of the shires and if he is bent upon the destruction of real opportunity for children and parents. He will experience the full vengeance of those who, in the next few years, will suffer irreparably and irreversibly as a consequence of the barbarity that he is visiting upon them now.
§ 9.40 p.m.
§ The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Mark Carlisle)
We have had a wide-ranging debate. I must tell the hon. Member for Bedwellty (Mr. Kinnock) that of course I regret, as do other members of the Government, that our economic inheritance has made it necessary to make reductions in Government expenditure. Inevitably, education must take its part. I shall be happy to debate those matters with the hon. Member at an appropriate time when the Government have made their decisions about the degree of any such reductions in expenditure and where they should fall. I ask the hon. Member to wait for those decisions before indulging in the type of hyperbole that he has indulged in today.
§ Mr. Kinnock
The Secretary of State accused me of hyperbole, but does he 1150 accuse that modest and reserved organisation, the National Association of Head Teachers, of that when it says that the cuts are the most damaging for education standards that have been perpetrated by any Government since the Second World War?
§ Mr. Carlisle
Since no decisions have been taken, I am entitled to answer "Yes". The hon. Member should wait and see what is decided and then I shall debate these matters happily.
I add my congratulations to my hon. Friend the Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Squire) on his maiden speech. It was a polished speech, and we look forward to hearing him again.
My hon. Friend said that he had been leader of the council in the borough of Sutton. The experience there answers part of the argument of the two Opposition Front Bench spokesmen who said that it was impossible to have both selective and comprehensive schools in the same education authority area. Sutton is often used by the Opposition as an example of a borough which retains selective schools. When I visited Sutton recently I went not to a selective school but to an extremely good comprehensive school. That school calls upon different catchment areas.
§ Mrs. Ann Taylor
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has spoken of the possibility of having selective and non-selective schools in the same authority area but with different catchment areas. What arrangements does he think should be made for parents who live in an area where there is comprehensive education but who want their children to have selective education, and for parents who live in a selective area and who want their children to go to a non-selective school?
§ Mr. Carlisle
The simple answer is to relax the basis of the catchment area. In Sutton and in an area in Lancashire which I visited recently both selective and non-selective schools operate within the same local authority area.
In view of the wide-ranging nature of the debate, I remind the House of what this little Bill does. It is not squalid, but modest. It is a one-clause Bill the effect of which is twofold. It allows those local authorities that were required against their will by the previous Government 1151 to submit proposals for going comprehensive, if they have been approved by the former Secretary of State, to notify me and I can reverse that decision.
Alternatively, where those proposals have not yet been approved, but have been put forward, the Bill allows them not to be continued with unless the wish is expressed that they should be. That is the total effect of this one-clause Bill. It is not an attack on comprehensive education as such. It is merely a restoration of the situation that existed before the 1976 Act to the balance that existed under the 1944 Act, which leaves to local education authorities the right to choose the type of secondary education which they wish in their area. It returns to them the requirement to initiate any application for change by section 13 procedure, rather than imposing that change upon them.
Many local authorities have gone comprehensive of their own volition. I have no doubt that many areas will continue to go comprehensive. Indeed, I am aware that certain schools are, at the volition of the local education authority, at present changing their status from selective to comprehensive. The Bill does not prevent that happening. All that it does is to set out that where local education authorities do not wish to go down that road they need not do so.
§ Mr. Nicholas Winterton
My right hon. and learned Friend will be aware that the Opposition spokesman on education described the Bill as barbarian. Will he indicate to the House how it can be in any way barbarian, bearing in mind that it returns to local education authorities the right to decide what system of secondary education is best suited to their areas?
§ Mr. Carlisle
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his assistance. I think that I have already described the speech of the hon. Member for Bedwellty as one that was riddled throughout with hyperbole.
I accept that there are good comprehensive schools, just as I am sure that their are bad comprehensive schools. I accept that there are bad grammar and secondary modern schools, just as there are good grammar and secondary modern schools. What I do not accept is the total belief in the absolutism of the com- 1152 prehensive school that is always advanced by Opposition Members.
I found it extraordinary that even the right hon. Member for Durham, North-West (Mr. Armstrong), who I am sure is regarded by many hon. Members as one of the most courteous Members, in his most interesting and valuable speech managed to acquire an air of total arrogance when it came to the issue of comprehensive schools, on the basis that if people care to question the absolutism of the comprehensive principle they are totally mistaken.
I come back to what my hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Dr. Boyson) said at the beginning of this debate. Let us take the comparison of Tameside and Manchester. For the purpose of my case, I do not have to prove that the figures given in the absence of the hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Mr. Marks) by my hon. Friend—
§ Mr. Ken Eastham (Manchester, Blackley) rose—
§ Mr. Carlisle
May I complete my point.
I do not have to prove that the figures show that the education provided in grammar and secondary modern schools in Tameside is of a higher academic quality than that provided in areas of similar social background in Manchester. The burden is the other way round.
All I have to say—
§ Mr. Eastham rose—
§ Mr. Carlisle
Let me complete this sentence, and then I shall give way.
Those figures do not show that the case for comprehensive schools is so totally proved as to justify imposing them on areas of the country that do not want them. If, as I believe, the aim and purpose of an education system is to provide the best form of education available for each child according to its own abilities. I see no reason in not accepting that a degree of diversity in the provision of schools is more likely to achieve that aim.
§ Mr. Eastham
Some serious things have been said this evening about Manchester, which are totally untrue. As a Manchester Member, I think that I am entitled to put the record right—
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. Since the right hon. and learned Gentleman gave way, the hon. Gentleman is entitled to make a brief intervention on any point that he made, but not to make a speech as if he had been called.
§ Mr. Eastham
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. Some quite inaccurate statements and comparisons have been made. I therefore ask the Secretary of State on what basis he makes these inaccurate claims about the comparisons between Tameside and Manchester. We made comparisons which prove that these statements were completely unfounded, and I am prepared to give the Secretary of State the information.
§ Mr. Carlisle
With great respect, I made no such unfair attack on Manchester. I merely said that the figures quoted do not prove that the type of education in Manchester is so clearly superior to that in Tameside as to justify forcing the whole of the country to go one particular way. However, in the few minutes that I have left, I must get on.
My second point to the right hon. Member for Durham, North-West is that if the case is so overwhelming, why was it necessary for the last Government to compel people to go that way? As my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway) said, that very issue of compulsion probably did more harm to the comprehensive ideal than anything else.
I have been accused by the hon. Member for Bolton, West (Mrs. Taylor) and by the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price) of undue haste in regard to the Bill. The hon. Gentleman talked about constitutional propriety. I remind him that this one-clause Bill had three meetings in Committee, a full day on the Floor of the House on Report, a full day on Second Reading and half a day on Third Reading. Therefore, even by his standards, I think that that charge was somewhat wild.
Of course there is a reason for haste. This Bill is clearly intended to relieve those local authorities of the obligations that have been imposed upon them. Some of those obligations were required to be carried out during the course of this year. We made it clear that we would relieve them of those obligations when 1154 we came into power, and that we have done.
I turn to another point made by the hon. Lady—the question of Bolton. She said that the Bill was responsible for the chaos in Bolton. I remind the hon. Lady of what she has said. Until last year, Bolton, at the wish of the local people, was continuing a situation where in certain areas it had selective schools. It was against the wish of the local authority that the then Government required it to go comprehensive. We have now removed that requirement and allowed it to continue with the process that it wanted. It is not we who have caused the chaos which the hon. Lady says exists in Bolton, but the decision of the previous Government in forcing the local authority to go in a direction that it did not want.
§ Mrs. Ann Taylor
Can I remind the right hon. and learned Gentleman that the denominational schools in Bolton are still voluntarily going comprehensive? Can I remind him that in the local elections in May, the Labour Party won 10 seats on the local council, thus endorsing our decision? Can I remind him that it is only since the Bill was introduced that an emergency 11-plus examination has been introduced? Does he defend an emergency examination taken in June of this year?
§ Mr. Carlisle
Of course it is only since this Bill was introduced, because until we had the good luck and good sense to win the general election, the people of Bolton were being required to go to a system of education against the wishes of the local authority. [Interruption.] The hon. Lady asked me many questions. She is not giving me much chance to try to answer them.
§ Mr. Carlisle
The hon. Lady asked me on what basis we would judge proposals for secondary education reorganisation in the future. The answer is quite simple. I shall judge them on educational merit. I shall ask such questions as whether the proposals make sense, whether resources are available to carry them out, whether they have the support of local people, and whether they provide 1155 for the best education possible for each child, according to its ability, in the area. Those are the sort of guidelines which should guide a Secretary of State in deciding these issues, and not the basic political dogma of the Labour Party.
The hon. Lady then asked me how I expected secondary schools to develop in the future. My answer is that I believe that as 83 per cent. of children are at present in comprehensive schools, the large majority of areas are likely to remain comprehensive by their own will. However, I say to the hon. Lady that the very effect of falling rolls will, I have no doubt, have some influence in itself on the type of organisation of secondary schools.
I do not believe, for example, that as schools get smaller, one will be able to have every school having its own sixth form. I think that we shall have pooling of resources. We may well have some schools with sixth forms and some without them. Looking at the years ahead, my suspicion is that without any dramatic change, because of the nature of the school population and the dropping numbers, schools will tend to specialise in particular aspects of education.
The hon. Lady also said that her objection to the Bill was that it perpetuated a myth—a Conservative myth, because it happened to disagree with her view on education. The only "myth" that the Bill perpetuates is the " myth " that the LEAs should decide and our belief that diversity of provision is what is needed to help the people.
I was asked specifically about Tameside. My comment now takes up a point put to me on Report by the hon. Member for Bedwellty. The situation is that the Tameside LEA proposed to reorganise
§ in 1975, and it did so with a date of implementation of 1976. After that, on a change of local control, the Conservative council, in May 1976, resolved not to proceed. Following upon that, in November 1976, my predecessor in the previous Government required the LEA to put in new proposals. Those proposals, which were different from the 1975 proposals, were under consideration at the time of the general election.
§ It is for that combination of causes that I have taken the view—as I have expressed it in the past, as the hon. Member for Bedwellty knows—that that application is spent, and that if the authority wishes to consider reorganisation, it should put forward a new section 13 application. The hon. Member may wish to know that I shall be meeting a deputation from Tameside in the next few days.
§ Finally, I say to the hon. Member for Lewisham, West that there is nothing sinister about not repealing section 4—indeed, very much the reverse. My view was that it was right for the purpose of certainty that an application under section 13 should have a time limit on it, so that people should know that the intention was to carry out, for instance, a closure of a school or a change of use, or whatever it may be. Far from having a sinister implication, as the hon. Gentleman suggested, it was with the intention of ensuring continuity that I decided to do it this way.
§ I am not ashamed of the Bill. It implements a proposal in our election manifesto, and I ask the House to support it.
§ Question put, That the Bill be now read the Third time:—
§ The House divided: Ayes, 228, Noes 178.1159
|Division No. 58]||AYES||[10.00 p.m.|
|Alexander, Richard||Bonsor, Sir Nicholas||Budgen, Nick|
|Ancram, Michael||Boscawen, Hon Robert||Bulmer, Esmond|
|Aspinwall, Jack||Bowden, Andrew||Burden, F. A.|
|Atkins, Robert (Preston North)||Boyson, Dr Rhodes||Butler, Hon Adam|
|Atkinson, David (B'mouth, East)||Bradford, Rev. R.||Cadbury, Jocelyn|
|Baker, Nicholas (North Dorset)||Braine, Sir Bernard||Carlisle, John (Luton West)|
|Bell, Ronald||Bright, Graham||Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)|
|Bendall, Vivian||Brinton, Tim||Carlisle, Rt Hon Mark (Runcorn)|
|Benyon, Thomas (Abingdon)||Brttian, Leon||Chalker, Mrs. Lynda|
|Berry, Hon Anthony||Brooke, Hon Peter||Channon, Paul|
|Best, Keith||Brown, Michael (Brigg & Sc'thorpe)||Chapman, Sydney|
|Bevan, David Gilroy||Bruce-Gardyne, John||Clark, Hon Alan (Plymouth, Sutton)|
|Blackburn, John||Bryan, Sir Paul||Clark, Dr William (Croydon South)|
|Blaker, Peter||Buchanan-Smith, Hon Alick||Clarke, Kenneth (Rushcliffe)|
|Body, Richard||Buck, Antony||Clegg, Walter|
|Cockeram, Eric||Johnson Smith, Geoffrey||Rathbone, Tim|
|Colvin, Michael||Jopling, Rt Hon Michael||Rees, Peter (Dover and Deal)|
|Cope, John||Kaberry, Sir Donald||Rees-Davies, W. R.|
|Corrie, John||Kilfedder, James A.||Rhodes James, Robert|
|Cranborne, Viscount||Kimball, Marcus||Roberts, Wyn (Conway)|
|Critchley, Julian||King, Rt Hon Tom||Rossi, Hugh|
|Crouch, David||Knight, Mrs Jill||Rost, Peter|
|Dean, Paul (North Somerset)||Lamont, Norman||Royle, Sir Anthony|
|Dodsworth, Geoffrey||Lang, Ian||Sainsbury, Hon Timothy|
|Derrell, Stephen||Langford-Holt, Sir John||St. John-Staves, Rt Hon Norman|
|Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James||Latham, Michael||Scott, Nicholas|
|Dover, Denshore||Lawson, Nigel||Shaw, Michael (Scarborough)|
|du Cann, Rt Hon Edward||Lee, John||Shelton, William (Streatham)|
|Dunn, Robert (Dartford)||Le Marchant, Spencer||Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)|
|Dykes, Hugh||Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark||Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge-Br'hills)|
|Edwards, Rt Hon N. (Pembroke)||Lester, Jim (Beeston)||Shersby, Michael|
|Egger, Timothy||Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)||Silvester, Fred|
|Elliott, Sir William||Lloyd, Ian (Havant & Waterloo)||Sims, Roger|
|Faith, Mrs Sheila||Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)||Smith, Dudley (War. and Leam'ton)|
|Fell, Anthony||Lyell, Nicholas||Speller, Tony|
|Fenner, Mrs Peggy||McCrindle, Robert||Spence, John|
|Fisher, Sir Nigel||Macfarlane, Nell||Squire, Robin|
|Fletcher, Alexander (Edinburgh N)||MacGregor, John||Stanbrook, Ivor|
|Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Macmillan, Rt Hon M. (Farnham)||Steen, Anthony|
|Fookes, Miss Janet||McNair-Wilson, Patrick (New Forest)||Stevens, Martin|
|Forman, Nigel||Madwel, David||Stewart, John (East Renfrewshire)|
|Fowler, Rt Hon Norman||Major, John||Stradling Thomas, J.|
|Fox, Marcus||Marlow, Tony||Tebbit, Norman|
|Fry, Peter||Marshall, Michael (Arundel)||Temple-Morris, Peter|
|Galbraith, Hon T. G. D.||Maude, Rt Hon Angus||Thatcher, Rt Hon Mrs Margaret|
|Gardiner, George (Reigate)||Mawby, Ray||Thomas, Rt Hon Peter (Hendon S)|
|Gardner, Edward (South Fyide)||Mawhinney, Dr Brian||Thompson, Donald|
|Garel-Jones, Tristan||Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin||Thornton, Malcolm|
|Glyn, Dr Alan||Mellor, David||Townend, John (Bridlington)|
|Gorst, John||Meyer, Sir Anthony||Trippier, David|
|Gow, Ian||Miller, Hal (Bromsgrove & Redditch)||van Straubenzee, W. R.|
|Gower, Sir Raymond||Mills, Iain (Meriden)||Vaughan, Dr Gerard|
|Greenway, Harry||Mills, Peter (West Devon)||Viggers, Peter|
|Grieve, Percy||Miscampbell, Norman||Waddington, David|
|Griffiths, Eldon (Bury St Edmunds)||Moate, Roger||Wakeham, John|
|Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)||Molyneaux, James||Waldegrave, Hon William|
|Grylls, Michael||Montgomery, Fergus||Walker, Rt Hon. Peter (Worcester)|
|Gummer, John Selwyn||Moore, John||Walker-Smith, Rt Hon Sir Derek|
|Hamilton, Hon Archie (Eps'm&Ew'll)||Morgan, Geraint||Wall, Patrick|
|Hamilton, Michael (Salisbury)||Morrison, Hon Peter (City of Chester)||Waller, Gary|
|Hampson, Dr Keith||Mudd, David||Ward, John|
|Hannam, John||Murphy, Christopher||Warren, Kenneth|
|Haselhurst, Alan||Myles, David||Watson, John|
|Havers, Rt Hon Sir Michael||Neubert, Michael||Wells, Bowen (Hert'rd & Stev'nage)|
|Hawkins, Paul||Nott, Rt Hon John||Wheeler, John|
|Hawksley, Warren||Onslow, Cranley||Whitney, Raymond|
|Hayhoe, Barney||Osborn, John||Wickenden, Keith|
|Heath, Rt Hon Edward||Page, John (Harrow, West)||Wiggin, Jerry|
|Heddle, John||Page, Rt Hon R. Graham (Crosby)||Wilkinson, John|
|Hicks, Robert||Parris, Matthew||Williams, Delwyn (Montgomery)|
|Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.||Patten, Christopher (Bath)||Winterton, Nicholas|
|Hill, James||Pawsey, James||Wolfson, Mark|
|Hogg, Hon Douglas (Grantham)||Percival, Sir Ian||Young, Sir George (Acton)|
|Holland, Philip (Carlton)||Pollock, Alexander|
|Hooson, Tom||Porter, George||TELLERS FOR THE AYES|
|Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)||Price, David (Eastleigh)||Mr. Carol Mather and|
|Jenkin, Rt Hon Patrick||Proctor, K. Harvey||Mr. Tony Newton.|
|Allaun, Frank||Callaghan, Jim (Middleton & P)||Davis, Terry (B'[...]ham, Stechford)|
|Alton, David||Campbell-Savours, Dale||Deakins, Eric|
|Anderson, Donald||Canavan, Dennis||Dobson, Frank|
|Archer, Rt Hon Peter||Carmichael, Neil||Dormand, Jack|
|Armstrong, Rt Hon Ernest||Carter-Jones, Lewis||Douglas-Mann, Bruce|
|Ashton, Joe||Clark, Dr David (South Shields)||Dunn, James A. (Liverpool, Kirkdale)|
|Atkinson, Norman (H'gey, Tott'ham)||Cocks, Rt Hon Michael (Bristol S)||Dunwoody, Mrs Gwyneth|
|Bagier, Gordon A. T.||Cohen, Stanley||Eadle, Alex|
|Beith, A. J.||Conlan, Bernard||Eastham, Ken|
|Benn, Rt Hon Anthony Wedgwood||Cook, Robin F.||Edwards, Robert (Wolv SE)|
|Bennett, Andrew (Stockport N)||Cowans, Harry||Ellis, Raymond (NE Derbyshire)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Crowther, J. S.||English, Michael|
|Booth, Rt Hon Albert||Cryer, Bob||Evans, Ioan (Aberdare)|
|Bottomley, Rt Hon Arthur (M'brough)||Cunliffe, Lawrence||Ewing, Harry|
|Bradley, Tom||Cunningham, George (Islington S)||Field, Frank|
|Bray, Dr Jeremy||Cunningham, Dr John (Whitehaven)||Fitch, Alan|
|Brown, Ronald W. (Hackney S)||Delyell, Tam||Flannery, Martin|
|Brown, Ron (Edinburgh, Leith)||Davies, Rt Hon Denzil (Llanelli)||Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)|
|Buchan, Norman||Davies, E. Hudson (Caerphilly)||Foot, Rt Hon Michael|
|Ford, Ben||Lyon, Alexander (York)||Sever, John|
|Foulkes, George||Lyons, Edward (Bradford West)||Sheerman, Barry|
|Fraser, John (Lambeth, Norwood)||Mabon, Rt Hon Dr J. Dickson||Shore, Rt Hon Peter (Step and Pop)|
|Garrett, W. E. (Walisend)||McCartney, Hugh||Silkin, Rt Hon S. C. (Dulwich)|
|George, Bruce||McDonald, Dr. Oonagh||Silverman, Julius|
|Ginsburg, David||McElhone, Frank||Skinner, Dennis|
|Golding, John||McGuire, Michael (Ince)||Smith, Cyril (Rochdale)|
|Gourlay, Harry||McKay, Allen (Penistone)||Smith, Rt Hon J. (North Lanarkshire)|
|Grant, George (Morpeth)||McKelvey, William||Soley, Clive|
|Grant, John (Islington C)||McMillan, Tom (Glasgow, Central)||Spearing, Nigel|
|Hamilton, James (Bothwell)||McWilliam, John||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Hamilton, W. W. (Central Fife)||Marks, Kenneth||Stallard, A. W.|
|Hardy, Peter||Marshall, Jim (Leicester South)||Stoddart, David|
|Harrison, Rt Hon Walter||Mason, Rt Hon Roy||Strang, Gavin|
|Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy||Maynard, Miss Joan||Summerskill, Hon Dr Shirley|
|Haynes, David||Mellish, Rt Hon Robert||Taylor, Mrs Ann (Bolton West)|
|Heffer, Eric S.||Millan, Rt Hon Bruce||Thomas, Jeffrey (Abertillery)|
|Hogg, Norman (E Dunbartonshire)||Miller, Dr M. S. (East Kilbride)||Thomas, Dr Roger (Carmarthen)|
|Holland, Stuart (L'beth, Vauxhall)||Mitchell, R. C. (Soton, Itchen)||Tilley, John|
|Home Robertson, John||Morris, Rt Hon Alfred (Wythenshawe)||Tinn, James|
|Homewood, William||Morris, Rt Hon Charles (Openshaw)||Urwin, Rt Hon Tom|
|Hooley, Frank||Morton, George||Varley, Rt Hon Eric G.|
|Howell, Rt Hon Denis (B'ham, Sm H)||Moyle, Rt Hon Roland||Wainwright, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Howells, Geraint||Mulley, Fit Hon Frederick||Watkins, David|
|Huckfield, Les||Newens, Stanley||Wellbeloved, James|
|Hughes, Mark (Durham)||Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon||Welsh, Michael|
|Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen North)||Orme, Rt Hon Stanley||White, Frank R. (Bury & Radcliffe)|
|Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Owen, Rt Hon Dr David||Whitehead, Phillip|
|Janner, Hon Greyille||Palmer, Arthur||Whitlock, William|
|Jay, Rt Hon Douglas||Park, George||Willey, Rt Hon Frederick|
|John, Brynmor||Pendry, Tom||Williams, Rt Hon Alan (Swansea W)|
|Johnson, James (Hull West)||Powell, Raymond (Ogmore)||Williams, Sir Thomas (Warrington)|
|Johnston, Russell (Inverness)||Prescott, John||Wilson, William (Coventry SE)|
|Jones, Rt Hon Alec (Rhondda)||Price, Christopher (Lewisham West)||Winnick, David|
|Jones, Barry (East Flint)||Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn (Leeds South)||Woolmer, Kenneth|
|Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Roberts, Albert (Normanton)||Wright, Shelia|
|Kerr, Russell||Roberts, Ernest (Hackney North)||Young, David (Bolton East)|
|Kilroy-Silk, Robert||Robertson, George|
|Kinnock, Neil||Rooker, J. W.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Lambie, David||Ross, Ernest (Dundee West)||Mr. Thomas Cox and|
|Leighton, Ronald||Ross, Stephen (Isle of Wight)||Mr. Joseph Dean.|
|Lofthouse, Geoffrey||Sandelson, Neville|
§ Question accordingly agreed to.
§ Bill read the Third time and passed.