HC Deb 06 May 1986 vol 97 cc10-1
10. Mr. Couchman

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he expects to be able to make an announcement of the conclusion of his consideration whether an inquiry should be held into the politicisation of education.

Sir Keith Joseph

The Government's decision will be announced as soon as possible in the light of all the views expressed about measures to be taken against indoctrination, including those in another place about the possibility of legislation in the Education Bill.

Mr. Couchman

I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for that answer. He might like to know that in my constituency the headmistress of Rainham girls' school invited the three main parties to offer people to speak to her sixth form pupils. Does my right hon. Friend agree that that is a better way for pupils to be exposed to political views and policies? Will he issue a circular suggesting to other head teachers that that is a good way to go about such matters?

Sir Keith Joseph

I agree with my hon. Friend. I think that that method is widely practised.

Mr. Key

Does my right hon. Friend agree that it is thoroughly bad luck that my question is No. 56 on the Order Paper? The point that I would have raised in my question is that much claptrap is talked on both sides of the House about the politicisation of education. The problem is that it is not being done properly, as my hon. Friend the Member for Gillingham (Mr. Couchman) said. More resources should be directed to teaching politics in schools.

Sir Keith Joseph

My hon. Friend must realise that, outside the direct teaching of politics, a small minority of teachers introduce politicisation and indoctrination into lessons. Many parents are, alas, deterred from making complaints, but no responsible holder of my office should ignore the widespread anxiety about possible indoctrination.