HC Deb 04 July 1989 vol 156 c146
9. Mr. Key

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what weight he gives to the educational needs of children of those serving in the armed forces in making detailed arrangements for the national curriculum.

Mrs. Rumbold

My right hon. Friend affords equal treatment to the educational needs of children who attend maintained schools, whatever the occupation of their parents.

Mr. Key

I am very grateful to my hon. Friend. Is she aware that about 30,000 children attend schools that are run by the Service Children education authority? Will she do her very best to ensure that they do not suffer from having access to fewer facilities and opportunities than are available to children in this country? Will she look in particular at the very difficult question of work experience and at the potential for learning foreign languages that is made available to those many children who live abroad, particularly in West Germany?

Mrs. Rumbold

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for pointing that out. He will be interested to know that I had a discussion last week with some people from schools in Germany. I was able to reassure them that the national curriculum will go a long way towards ensuring continuity of education for those children. We also discussed the teaching of foreign languages, especially German to children who are living in Germany, and work experience. All those matters are being examined.

Mr. Dalyell

What does the hon. Lady mean by "continuity" in that context?

Mrs. Rumbold

Continuity means studying according to the national curriculum, whether in a maintained school in this country or in a school that is maintained in Germany or in another foreign country by the British forces. It will ensure that children who live abroad study roughly the same curriculum as is studied by children in this country.