HC Deb 10 March 1981 vol 1000 c740
2. Mr. Christopher Price

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will now arrange for reports of Her Majesty's inspectors about standards in schools to be published annually.

The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Mark Carlisle)

I assume that the hon. Gentleman has in mind Her Majesty's inspectorate's reports on the effects on the education service of local authority expenditure policies. I shall consider the question of publication of any future years' reports at the time of their preparation.

Mr. Price

Does the Secretary of State agree that it does not make sense to publish information one year and then to deny the public that information in future years? Will the right hon. and learned Gentleman's forthcoming statement on the curriculum define the legal basis of the curriculum? Is music part of the curriculum.

Mr. Carlisle

The first point made by the hon. Gentleman will be taken into consideration. He would not expect me, at this stage, to commit myself or any successor, to such publication. On his second point, the curriculum document does not attempt to alter any legal definition or provisions for education.

Mr. van Straubenzee

Did my right hon. and learned Friend need to take advice to answer that question? If so, what proportion of those who advised him were at work yesterday?

Mr. Carlisle

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his ingenuity. I am glad to say that 66 per cent. of the civil servants in the Department of Education and Science at Elizabeth House were truly working yesterday. That is a commendation of their sense of responsibility and common sense.

Mr. Kinnock

In furtherance of the question raised by my hon. Friend for Lewisham, West (Mr. Price), will the Secretary of State ensure that future reports similar to the one that we recently received will be published so that there can be year-on-year accounting to the general public, the teaching profession, the interested community and parents, as well as hon. Members, of the way in which financial policies affect the standards of provision and performance in schools? In the event of next year's report being published and demostrating a further deterioration, what will he do? Will he remain inactive, as he has been this year?

Mr. Carlisle

We shall consider at the appropriate time whether the future report should be published. I find it somewhat odd that the hon. Gentleman should attempt to tie any successors to the publication of the report when my predecessor chose never to publish it.

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

Hear, hear.