HC Deb 03 November 1987 vol 121 cc776-7
13. Mr. Anthony Coombs

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what measures the Government are taking to improve standards of pupil behaviour and discipline in schools; and if he will make a statement.

Mrs. Rumbold

The Education (No. 2) Act 1986 strengthens the authority of head teachers and governing bodies—which in future will include more parents—by giving them direct responsibility for maintaining discipline. Her Majesty's Inspectorate's recently published report on good behaviour and discipline has given schools guidance on best practice.

Mr. Coombs

Is my hon. Friend aware of the tremendous support from parents for the strengthening of moral and religious education in schools, and its potential for improving pupil behaviour? Does she agree that not only should religious education be included in the core curriculum, as was suggested earlier by my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway), but that, as with academic subjects before the hidden curriculum, specific benchmarks should be included in the national curriculum proposals?

Mrs. Rumbold

My hon. Friend is right. There is indeed considerable support among parents for moral and religious education in schools, and we hope that our proposals will clearly set the curriculum as a whole within that context.

Mr. Grocott

Will the Minister confirm the views of many teachers that the main problem with 15 and 16-yearolds in regard to school discipline is that, however hard they work, they face a future with no prospect of finding employment when they leave? Is not one of the many dreadful legacies of the present Government their creatiom in many parts of the country of a generation with no hope?

Mrs. Rumbold

The hon. Gentleman may not be aware that the Government have provided full YTS schemes for two years for pupils leaving school. Such schemes provide them with the opportunity of adequate training, which I hope will take them into good jobs.