HC Deb 19 June 1984 vol 62 cc130-1
10. Sir William van Straubenzee

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how long after 1 October 1984 he anticipates introducing legislation to implement proposals in his Green Paper, "Parental Influence at School".

Sir Keith Joseph

When the Government have considered responses to the proposals, they intend to proceed to legislation as soon as a suitable opportunity arises.

Sir William van Straubenzee

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that informative reply. Does he appreciate that there is a big head of steam of support behind and around him for increasingly harnessing the interest and concern of parents to help him in his outstanding drive to raise standards, an aim which is very dear to the vast majority of parents?

Sir Keith Joseph

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for those comments. I thought that a "but" was coming at the end. I was glad to hear his words.

Mr. Loyden

If the Secretary of State is committed to the idea of parental influence, why has he ignored the approaches made by the Liverpool area school parents' association on the question of secondary reorganisation and the fact that the policy of the Labour party has been confirmed by parents at the last two elections.

Sir Keith Joseph

I do not think that that has anything to do with the main question.

Dr. Hampson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it is about seven years since a working party group on policy decided that there was far too much abuse of politically appointed governors and recommended that the majority of school governors should be chosen from among parents? Is it not a matter of urgency that we should proceed with that recommendation?

Sir Keith Joseph

I am grateful for the reminder by my hon. Friend that I am on the party line in this case. We are going through a serious, necessarily slightly longer than usual, process of consultation so that we may be sure of understanding all the implications of what we intend to do.

Mr. Freud

Will the Secretary of State assure the House that there will be no paving legislation by which, in the interim, democratically elected parent governors will be appointed until they can be re-elected?

Sir Keith Joseph

The hon. Gentleman puts ideas into my head.

Mr. Beaumont-Dark

Does my right hon. Friend agree that most parents are against all the changes that are being suggested in the education curriculum, and are more concerned that their children should be taught to read, write and add up, instead of schools going in for some other cock-eyed system that would again mess up the whole education curriculum? Can we concentrate on that kind of parental influence instead of experimenting?

Sir Keith Joseph

Without universally condemning every single change that might be accepted, I agree that the influence of parents will probably be used for a wise conservatism.