HC Deb 15 April 1991 vol 189 cc117-38 10.12 pm
Mr. Donald Dewar (Glasgow, Garscadden)

I beg to move, That the Testing in Primary Schools (Scotland) Regulations 1990 (S.I., 1990, No. 2104) dated 24th October 1990, a copy of which was laid before this House on 25th October, in the last Session of Parliament, be revoked. I regret that the Secretary of State for Scotland is not with us. I do not know the reason for his absence, and I do not want to make too much of it. This is an important debate with far-reaching consequences, and it is unfortunate that the head of the house, in Conservative terms at least, has decided not to be present.

The issue has been subjected to a creditable and serious debate, although there have been the odd exceptions. I have a cutting from the Daily Record of 12 April which states that the leader of the Conservative group on Strathclyde regional council, Councillor Fergus Clarkson, when asked to consider the fact that about two thirds of the parents in Strathclyde withdrew their children from the tests, said: What beats me about Glasgow was I didn't think two thirds of parents there were able to write letters. That has not done much for the standard of the argument. This is the first debate on the issue in the House and hon. Members will have a chance to express their anxiety and to reflect the concern that is widely felt in their constituencies. I am conscious of the fact that time is not on our side and that the arguments must be concise— perhaps almost in precis form. The Opposition strongly feel that what is happening is a tragedy. National testing for primary 4 and primary 7 pupils is being imposed, grafted on to primary education, in an unnecessary and counter-productive way. That is sad because it is muddying the waters and endangering a great deal of agreement and good will.

That good will stems from the fact that most of us accept that there is merit in the five-to-14 programme—the Labour party certainly takes that view. We accept that there is both a need for national levels of attainment, and a flow of information, and an important place for continuous assessment and diagnostic testing. There is widespread support for that, but unfortunately it is mirrored by equally widespread opposition to national testing. There is a genuine fear that national testing will distort the curriculum and ultimately lead to league tables within schools and the misapprehension of the worth of schools and the way in which they perform. There is a fear that it is part of a general drift towards seeing education as a commodity that can be manipulated by market forces.

There is an unfortunate feeling that questions have not been fully answered and that there has been a lack of consultation. There is a feeling, which I share, that it would have been very much wiser to let the five-to-14 programme become properly established and well-bedded into the system before the issue of national testing was addressed, if the Government insisted on addressing it at all. There is resentment of the fact that, of the six working papers in connection with the programme that have been produced, only working paper number 5, dealing with national testing, does not have a consultation period built into it.

I have put the arguments in shorthand, and I say to the House genuinely that they are not frivolous. I notice that there is support for them not only from parents and teachers, but from the educational hierarchy—if those involved do not object to that title. I noticed that in the Glasgow Herald on 7 March, Mr. Ian Collie, director of education of Central region, questioned the educational case and expressed concern about the stress and difficulties that might result from the introduction of a rigid national testing system.

There is also a fear of a hidden agenda. The Minister may feel, when I say that, that he is being much misunderstood, but I am afraid that the record invites some suspicion. It is interesting that in the MORI poll published in The Sunday Times this weekend, 59 per cent. of parents who said that they voted Tory believed that the introduction of national testing was a preliminary to the return of streaming in our schools. That shows how widespread and non-partisan the fears are, given the record of recent years.

The Minister of State, Scottish Office is perhaps inured to such a position, but on this issue he is a lonely figure. There has not been a great deal of covering fire of authority or quality for his position. There is every reason why he should think again. The teachers' opposition has been sustained not by fringe interests and fringe enthusiasms, but by deeply held and widely based views. Above all, the opposition of parents has shown that they give a massive vote of no confidence to the national testing system as proposed. That striking vote of no confidence is impressive and unambiguous, covering and coming from all regions of the country and all social groupings in the community. The MORI poll showed that by far the largest block of opinion—47 per cent.—was against national testing per se. More interestingly, 80 per cent of those polled were against national testing being a compulsory system built into school administration.

The polls predicted opposition and the reality far exceeded expectations or fears, depending on which side of the argument the observer took. In every district of Scotland, parents have acted out of conviction by withdrawing their children from the tests. I am told that in Strathclyde, 41,000 out of 53,000 children in the relevant groups have not been tested. In Fife, 5,000 individual letters from parents were received, in a mass test of opinion, and 60 per cent. of the eligible group were withdrawn from testing.

There is always a little difficulty about the figures and accuracy, but as I understand it from a trawl around the education authorities, and this is confirmed from a number of sources, a clear majority of parents have now withdrawn their children from the primary 4 and primary 7 testing round this year—probably more than 60 per cent. of the eligible group. That is an almost unprecedented happening in my experience and suggests that there is an unease and disquiet that we ignore at our peril.

Furthermore, it is a breakdown of consensus, a protest, that the Minister would be unwise to ignore. More than any other, the Minister must recognise what has happened as a judgment. To be fair to him, he has championed parent power and argued for a greater role for parents in the formation of education policy. Therefore, it would be unwise, undignified and damaging to his credibility were he now to turn round and defy one of the clearest expressions of parental opinion on an education matter that I can remember in my career. The Minister established school boards to institutionalise and channel parental influence. He now knows that the boards have bitten the hand that fed them. They have been largely responsible for focusing and leading the opposition to national testing. Again, that is a clear expression of opinion using the machinery that the Minister said would be of increasing significance and that was set up for that purpose.

I do not wish my brief contribution to be abrasive, but I urge the Minister to respond to the parental concern that he knows exists and that I have described. Recognition of that fact by the Minister would be in the interests of pupils and our school system. If he will not recognise it, he has a duty to spell out what will happen now. Will he pursue the education authorities and insist that they insist? Is he saying that parental opinion should be ignored in this matter, perhaps forcing some parents who feel strongly enough to withdraw their children from education for the period of the tests? That would have consequences that none of us would want. Does he want to outlaw balloting or other tests of parental opinion on this issue? What sanctions will he apply if he misguidedly goes ahead with the scheme in the current atmosphere? By what authority would they be imposed?

I genuinely believe, having talked to many parents, that the problems will mount on every side if the Minister persists in what will be an embittering and pointless exercise. I appeal to him to recognise the reality of the situation and to take national testing off the agenda, at least at this stage. He should establish on strong foundations the five-to-14 programme, which commands respect and assent, and build from there. The alternative is confrontation, which is damaging and unnecessary. It is a legacy that no Minister should wish to place on our education system.

I remind the Minister—I know that he is familiar with the quote as it has been used before—of what he said on 9 May 1989: it would be a failure of good Government if, at the end of the day, we could not ensure that national testing was introduced in an orderly and consistent manner throughout the country." —[Official Report, First Scottish Standing Committee, 9 May 1989; c. 1374.] On that basis, it is time for him to think again, and I hope that he will show his willingness to do so during this debate.

10.23 pm
The Minister of State, Scottish Office (Mr. Michael Forsyth)

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) was kind enough to refer to my comments in Committee in respect of national testing. I recall that he and his colleagues did not vote against the power that we took in that Bill, as the hon. Member for Moray (Mrs. Ewing) pointed out, to introduce testing.

Seldom can a measure have been more subject to wilful misrepresentation and misguided hostility than the proposal for national testing in our schools. I am sure that the House will agree that some testing is beneficial for individual pupils and their parents and for those concerned with judging the effectiveness of schools. Children's strengths and weaknesses need to be diagnosed and assessed so that appropriate steps can be taken. Parents want to know how their children are developing against a broadly agreed, objective yardstick. A measure of the progress that a school is making with pupils should form an important part of any system of assessing a school's performance.

Mr. John Home Robertson (East Lothian)

How does the Minister, as a parent, know how his child is getting on in the private school in my constituency? Why is my son being compulsorily tested in his primary school in the Borders region, regardless of the wishes of his parents, when private schools are not being tested? What happened to parental choice and how can the Minister call it national testing if privatised schools are left out of it?

Mr. Forsyth

I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman disagreed with my opening remarks. They were taken from "Children Come First", which sets out the Labour party's policy for raising standards in schools. The hon. Gentleman is wrong about my son attending a school in his constituency, but it is right that my children go to independent schools.

One of the extraordinary features of the regulations is that independent schools are not required under them to implement the testing proposals, but virtually all of them are doing so voluntarily. Independent schools are writing to parents to tell them that they are doing so because they believe that the testing will be of value to the children, to parents and to the education system. I venture to suggest that it is not in that sector that perhaps the greatest need exists for further progress on standards of assessment.

I said that the House might accept my opening remarks——

Mrs. Margaret Ewing (Moray)

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Forsyth

If I might make some progress, I shall give way.

The hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie (Mr. Worthington) was quoted in The Scotsman on 27 March. He was explaining a challenge that was put to him to explain why he was whistling a different tune on primary testing from his English counterpart, the hon. Member for Blackburn (Mr. Straw). The report said: 'I start from the Scottish system', explained Mr. Worthington. 'Jack Straw starts from the English one. One of the advantages of living in two worlds is that you can look at the chaos and muddle that is the English system. What Jack Straw was saying was that he wished that he could get some rigour into the English system.' That was in March. The hon. Member for Clydebank and Milngavie, prior to our previous debate on this issue, was quoted in the same newspaper. The article reads: On the eve of a major Commons clash over Scottish education policy today, Tony Worthington, Labour's Front Bench spokesman, confirmed that the party is in favour of making the results of pupil testing known to parents; identifying schools which fail to match the standards of those with similar intakes. The hon. Gentleman was putting forward a policy, which the hon. Member for Garscadden has just repudiated, of making league tables of schools. I ask the hon. Member for Garscadden whether the Labour party supports national testing. It is no good saying that testing is all right in one part of the country but not in another. Testing either has a place in education and assessment practice or it has not.

The hon. Member for Blackburn, who is the Labour party's education spokesman, seems to be clear on the matter. It is fair to say, however, that what the hon. Gentleman was saying in 1987 was different from what he is saying now. He was saying in 1987 of the Government's policy of compulsory testing—I quote from The Times of 29 October—— Under the guise of higher standards, the Bill"— that is the Government's Bill— will label children as failures at the ages of seven, 11, 14 and 16, impose selection and segregate children by class and by race. That is what the hon. Gentleman said in 1987, but in 1990, according to The Times, he mused: Does a parent want to know every four years or rather more frequently? He then said that annual tests might be better. The article in The Times added: Nor is Mr, Straw any longer much troubled by the publication of test data, which he once said would set child against child. Labour would ensure that a child's results were released to its parents, would sample figures to establish whether national standards in the three Rs were rising or falling, and would adjust test scores for social class so that parents could compare schools. Such an approach would stop schools from citing deprivation among their intake as 'an alibi for failure', he said. 'That is the case for it. It is not just a crutch, it is so you can be tougher on schools.' I ask the hon. Member for Garscadden how it is possible for the Labour party to be in favour of national testing and more information for parents about the three Rs in England but not in Scotland. What have Scottish parents done to deserve the Labour party's policy which would deny them that information?

Mrs. Margaret Ewing

I should be grateful if the Minister would address himself to the educational matters in the debate. When he considers the national picture of standards, has he placed in context the report published in 1989 on the assessment of achievement? The report showed that standards in reading in particular were not only remaining stable but improving. The Minister already has a national picture, so why is it important to him to implement this legislation? The organisation which produced the report will test primary 4, primary 7 and S2 every three years at the request of the Scottish Office Education Department. The tests would be undertaken by independent surveyors.

Mr. Forsyth

The hon. Lady is right. I have extended that programme. If she were being fair, she would also point out that the same programme showed a decline in standards of achievement in mathematics. But she confuses two purposes. One is to find the overall pattern of performance in the school. The other, which is the purpose of national testing, is to provide parents with the information about the individual performance of their children to which they are entitled.

Mr. Malcolm Bruce (Gordon)

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Forsyth

No, I should like to make some progress.

I asked the hon. Member for Garscadden to explain the curious schism in Labour's policy north and south of the border. The only conclusion that I have been able to reach is that north of the border the Educational Institute of Scotland told the Labour party to oppose the tests, just as when the EIS told it to oppose school boards, it did so. When the EIS changed its mind, the Labour party changed its mind on school boards.

Mr. Dewar

The Minister has been reduced to insults, which suggests that he does not have much confidence in his case.

I made it clear in my opening remarks that we were in favour of diagnostic testing, continuous assessment, improved communication and the passage of information between parents and schools. All that can be achieved within the five-to-14 programme, which I welcome and on which I congratulate the Scottish Office Education Department. But we have said consistently that in the Scottish educational tradition—we believe in devolution and we practise what we preach—it is not sensible to enforce on a system that does not deem it necessary and on parents who do not want it a rigid national testing system, with all the bitterness and difficulties that will arise from it. [Interruption.]

Mr. Forsyth

As the hon. Member for Moray points out, the hon. Gentleman did not vote in Committee against national testing. He argued that he was not opposed to the principle. His hon. Friend the Member for Blackburn, Labour's education spokesman, seems to take a different view. The hon. Member for Garscadden is being fair. He argues that the position is different in Scotland. I have looked at some of the material produced by Labour-controlled education authorities in Scotland on testing, particularly that produced in Central region. The hon. Gentleman quoted Mr. Ian Collie, the director of education in Fife. Both authorities have campaigned against the proposals.

I asked the inspectorate to look at the maths tests for primary 7, which were being set in Central region. What it reported to me is important. It said: it should be noted that the desire to scrutinise standards came from the headteachers themselves and that this was to be done at P3 and P5, as well as P7. Neither these headteachers nor the education authority consider teachers' own continuous assessment to be sufficient. The tests scrutinised here are those from primary 7. So far as we understand, the region has not yet produced those for primary 3 and primary 5. Those are the inspectorate's conclusions, not mine. It is interesting that it compared the tests with the national tests which the hon. Member for Garscadden has repudiated. In brief, its conclusions were as follows: The national tests are directly related to nationally agreed and published attainment targets. The national tests include important additional aspects of the mathematics curriculum, such as problem-solving and enquiry. They reflect a balance across the different aspects of mathematics and are therefore more valid. They are contextualised in line with contemporary good practice in teaching methematics. They take less time than the Central Region units and can be administered over a longer period, thus enabling teachers to fit the units into the rhythm of classwork. They are more attractively presented and better in their lay-out. Central region and other authorities have been running their own tests, which are inferior to the national tests, but are certainly not diagnostic.

Mr. Malcolm Bruce


Mr. Forsyth

They are as old-fashioned as the tests that the hon. Member and I sat at school, and I give way to him.

Mr. Bruce

Does the Minister accept that there is widespread support for the quality of the testing material? He knows perfectly well that that is not the point at issue. Will he explain to the House what happened to his conviction that parental choice should be the determining factor? How does he define parental choice, how will he take it into account and what do parents have to do to convince him that they do not want his national test?

Mr. Forsyth

What happened to the hon. Gentleman's conviction that parents should be excluded from curricular and professional matters, which he argued forcibly during the passage of the School Boards (Scotland) Act 1988? Has he now changed his position? The hon. Gentleman argued in Committee and sought to persuade me to make the School Boards (Scotland) Act off limits for parents, as far as curricular and professional matters were concerned—[Interruption.] The hon. Gentleman asked me to define parental choice. If the position of Opposition Members has now changed, and they wish the Government to consider extending parental choice to curricular areas and to extend the powers of school boards in that area, of course I should be very happy to give that consideration. However, that is a completely——

Mr. Tom Clarke (Monklands, West)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Forsyth

No, I shall not give way to the hon. Gentleman.

I would like to return to the argument about Central region, because, while the hon. Member for Garscadden and his colleagues in local government were preventing this leaflet, which gave information about the testing proposals, from being distributed to parents, one of the arguments was that the leaflet was breaking new ground. It was positive evidence that testing was the 11-plus in disguise, because it contained the sentence: The results will help secondary schools to plan each child's further progress in education. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise, Mr. Deputy Speaker, in discovering that Central region, with the mathematics tests that I have just described, asks its head teachers to pass the whole script and the results to the pupil's secondary school on transfer. A Labour-controlled education authority, which is not prepared to put out a leaflet because it might result in tests being passed on to the secondary school, is running tests that are the same, and telling parents that the tests are educationally invalid.

The hon. Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) said that the quality of the tests was not in doubt. He is right. Even the Labour activist who speaks for the Lothian Parents Action Group was quoted in The Scotsman on 23 January as saying: The actual tests are therefore very user friendly and answer many of the objections related to their impact on children. The different levels are designed to take into account children's different abilities. That is right. So, if there is nothing wrong with the test materials, what is the objection? I suspect that the objection is that the idea came from the Government and not from the Opposition.

Mr. John McFall (Dumbarton)


Mr. Forsyth

No, I shall not give way to the hon. Gentleman. I have given way—[HON. MEMBERS: "Give way."] If the hon. Gentleman allows me to make some progress I shall give way to him.

The reason why the test materials are good is that they have been written by practising teachers in Scottish schools. The evidence is that they are enjoyed by the children. Where no fuss of a political nature has been made, the tests have been carried out—[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh!"] If hon. Members doubt me I can give them evidence. The Chief Inspector of Schools has just returned from the Western Isles—I am not sure whether the hon. Member for the Western Isles (Mr. Macdonald) is here —where he visited schools. He has reported back: On testing one was left wondering what all the fuss is about. In each case the head teacher, assisted by someone from the authority, had discussed testing with the school board. Individual parents' questions had been answered as they arose but testing had deliberately not been given a high profile; for example, there had been no mass meetings of parents. As a result, in all three schools, testing was proceeding in orderly fashion, untrammelled by any of the emotional response and posturing by teachers and parents evident elsewhere. For example, in Stornoway primary, with some 170 plus pupils due to be tested across P4 and P7, only one parent had asked that their child be not tested and their opposition had swiftly dissipated following a discussion with the head teacher. The same picture can be seen in the Borders.

It should also be recognised that there is a certain correlation between some of the activities that have been going on in some education authorities and parental reluctance to become involved in the tests. The words and actions of some teachers, head teachers and even education authority personnel in recent weeks have been nothing short of scandalous: My child is dragged out each morning and asked where his withdrawal slip is—you're the only one not handed in" [Interruption.] The hon. Member may think that that is funny. That was in a telephone call from a parent in the Dumbarton division of Straythclyde: I've been told that if I insist on testing he'll be put at a desk in a corridor to take the test. That was another telephone call to the Department.

Mr. Brian Wilson (Cunninghame, North)

That is scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Mr. Forsyth

Since when has reporting parents' complaints to the House of Commons been scraping the bottom of the barrel? If the hon. Gentleman had any integrity and any belief in parental choice——

Mr. McFall

The Minister mentioned Dumbarton. I am as concerned professionally as the Minister in that regard. If there were anything wrong, I should take it up. But it should at least be incumbent on the Minister to listen to hon. Members and organise a debate on a proper intellectual basis rather than making snide comments.

Mr. Forsyth

Let me quote further: Within 10 minutes it was obvious he was to advise parents to vote against national testing". That is in a letter from a parent in Tayside region, talking about a presentation to a school board by a directed official. I expected to be given both sides of the argument but what I and the rest of the parents got was nothing short of propaganda". That was from a letter from a parent in the Renfrew division of Strathclyde. It is insupportable that teachers and education authority personnel should behave in that way. It is totally unprofessional, dishonest and an abuse of a position of trust.

Mr. Dewar


Mr. Forsyth

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will take this opportunity to say that he agrees with me.

Mr. Dewar

I do not know anything about the two individual cases to which the Minister has referred. If there have been abuses, they should of course be investigated;

but I think that there is a much more important question. Is the Minister deducing from the alleged abuses that the opposition of the parents is sham and fake?

Mr. Forsyth

No, indeed. I am deducing that in parts of the country where the education authorities and teachers have explained to parents what is involved the testing is proceeding without difficulty; it is where opposition has been politically led that there have been particular difficulties in schools. The hon. Gentleman may scoff. Does he agree with the education convener of Tayside education authority, who said in the 2 April edition of The Dundee Courier and Advertiser—an excellent newspaper: It is becoming apparent now that there may well be exceptions where youngsters may go untested because of industrial action and logistical problems … I can see no moral justification for the authority being over-vigilant in its pursuit of those teachers."? Where is parental choice now? Parental choice for the Labour party seems to be a one-way street. If parents choose to have their children tested, the Labour party supports those whose refuse to allow the tests to be carried out. That is what Councillor Rolf is saying. Would the hon. Member for Garscadden care to confirm what Labour policy is? Will the Labour party support the Government in taking the view that teachers ought to implement tests where parents wish them to be carried out because they are serious about parental choice? Parental choice is not a one-way street; it does not extend just to what the EIS thinks parents should choose.

Mr. Dewar

I have never supported a teachers' boycott, or said that authorities should not implement the tests. The point that has arisen, however, results from a genuine surge of opinion from parents against the tests—not politically motivated; most of the parents whom I have met have not been in a political setting, and I do not know their political views. But I know the strength of their opinions, and I think it specious and dangerous special pleading for the Minister to delude himself that this is a sham and fake opposition not built on a genuine conviction and interest in the welfare of the children concerned.

Mr. Forsyth

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for confirming that he takes the view that a boycott should not be supported. Therefore, I take it that he will fully support the Government when they take action under the regulations against education authorities that do not accede to parents' requests that their children should be tested in accordance with their wishes. If I have misrepresented the position, the hon. Gentleman is free to come back.

Mrs. Margaret Ewing


Mr. Forsyth

I have already given way to the hon. Lady. As she will probably want to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I think that I ought to wind up my remarks.

Education authorities should be in no doubt about our determination to ensure that parents get the information to which they are entitled about their children's performance in the three Rs. The five-to-14 programme, which the Opposition opposed when we first introduced it, and that was the subject of a degree of scepticism, to put it mildly, will ensure that for each subject for each year in primary school levels of attainment are defined and that levels of achievement are reported to parents on the report card. Testing is limited to the three R subjects in order to provide objective standards by which to confirm teachers' judgments. The three Rs are important; they are the grounding in the basics that are the key to the wider curriculum.

Opposition Members have got themselves in a fix. They support testing south of the border, but they are against it north of the border. They have had to rely on a campaign of misinformation of parents in order to stir up opposition to the tests. When parents discover how, once again, they have been misled by the Labour party—just as on access to schools, just as on choice in education, just as on school boards—the Labour party will change its position. I believe that the tests will be implemented and will play an important part in raising standards in our schools.

Mr. Bob Cryer (Bradford, South)

On a point of order, Mr. Deputy Speaker. The note on the Order Paper makes it clear that the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments drew the special attention of the House to the instrument in its report since it thought that the intra vires of the regulations was in doubt. The report is in the Vote Office. The Standing Orders of the House place an obligation, if not clearly, at least by implication, on the Minister to respond to the note on the Order Paper by making known the Government's view on the report of the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, which I chaired.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)

The Minister may seek to catch my eye in order to respond to the debate which I hope will now ensue. Perhaps he will have regard to what has just been said. However, the House will be anxious to turn to the substance of the regulations rather than to the point that the hon. Gentleman has just raised. In the obvious circumstances, may I appeal for very brief speeches, please?

10.47 pm
Mr. Dennis Canavan (Falkirk, West)

Shortly after this Tory Government came to power, I was appointed to a Standing Committee that considered one of the Bills relating to Scottish education. I can remember distinctly that the great Tory rallying cry then was, "Power to the parents" and "Parental choice." Specific reference is made in the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 not just to the desirability but to the obligation to educate pupils according to the wishes of their parents. It is somewhat ironic that the Government are now trying to foist upon pupils a national system of testing when, according to all accounts and to all the available evidence, the vast majority of Scottish parents oppose national testing.

There is also widespread opposition among the teaching profession to national testing to the extent that many teachers rightly have refused to conduct the tests. That could lead to disruption in many schools, on a scale unprecedented since the disruption that the Government provoked a few years ago during the teachers' pay dispute.

The Minister ought to have the humility to recognise that teachers, as trained professionals, are in a better position than are Government Ministers to decide what is the best form of assessment for pupils. I do not know of any teacher who is absolutely opposed in principle to assessment. I believe that most, if not all, teachers are in favour of some form of diagnostic testing and continuous assessment. But national testing, as proposed in the regulations, will put enormous pressure on teachers simply to teach to the test—leading to distortion of the curriculum and to neglect of the development of many of the other talents of pupils.

Mr. Peter Bottomley (Eltham)

Can the hon. Gentleman, as a former teacher, refer the House to any systematic assessment of achievement at P4 or P7 level? Is there any means of making comparisons among local education authorities throughout Scotland?

Mr. Canavan

I do not think that the hon. Gentlemen knows much, if anything, about Scottish education. Scottish colleges of education and many other educational bodies could provide material suitable for diagnostic testing and continuous assessment—material that has far more credibility in the teaching profession in Scotland than has the scheme that it being imposed by a Minister who, I understand, has no education experience whatsoever.

It is almost incredible that the Minister has managed to find nearly £1 million to administer and advertise the scheme when he cannot find a penny for extra learning support. Indeed, it is arguable that, as a result of this scheme, less learning support will be available to many pupils. The simple reason is that much teaching time will be taken up by administration of the tests, and less will be devoted to actual teaching. It is sheer arrogance to ignore the professional opinion of teachers and the wishes of parents. As has been said, foisting this scheme on local education authority schools while fee-paying schools are given some freedom of choice is an example of double standards.

I want to devote my remaining remarks to what my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) described as a hidden agenda. I suspect that there is more to the system of national testing than meets the eye. My remarks will be based not on political prejudice but on my experience as a teacher in both primary and secondary schools in Scotland—experience that goes back to the 1960s, before the introduction of comprehensive education in many areas. At that time, in Scottish education, there was almost an obsession with formal testing, including IQ tests, VRQ tests and the qualifying examination, which in some areas was called the control examination. This obsession was such that some people involved in education thought that, on the basis of the evidence of one test, they could virtually predict a child's future when that child was 11 years old.

Of course, the post-test division of children into different categories, different groups, different classes, sometimes different schools, and certainly vastly differing education environments providing very different opportunities helped to ensure fulfilment and reinforcement of what the test was designed to predict. The result was that many pupils—in some schools, the majority of pupils—were written off as failures. Many teachers of that era, including myself, can think of former pupils who, despite having been written off at the age of 11 or 12, managed to beat the system and went on to a successful career at college or university.

Many of us raised questions at that time. The most basic was that, if those who managed to beat the system were the exception, how many more were lost in an education system that was unnecessarily divisive, unfair and talent-wasting, because at that time there was no equality of educational opportunity? If the House accepts the regulations, I fear that the Government will be encouraged to use or abuse the tests to turn the clock back and thereby to deprive countless young people of the educational opportunity which is their birthright. I therefore ask the House to reject the regulations.

10.56 pm
Mr. Bill Walker (Tayside, North)

There seems to be general agreement that the test material which has been prepared by teachers is good. There is also some agreement that for some time there has been a problem with pupils leaving school who are not as well educated as they should be, because they are unable to apply the three Rs effectively at work. That holds them back at a critical stage in their life, and some people never recover from that impediment.

There is also some agreement about the fact that many of the pupils who fall into that category are not backward or dim. The system has failed them. We must ask ourselves whether, if the system is failing quality individuals who have not been able to emerge as they should have done, we should look carefully at the system. The tests have been accepted as being of quality, so the argument seems to be about their application. It is interesting that the Labour party south of the border seems to agree with national testing, but that the Labour party north of the border does not.

I happen to agree with my hon. Friend the Minister —[HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] I will now explain why. I have written to him on behalf of parents in my constituency who were very unhappy about the way in which the matter was explained to them in the schools. They said that it was biased——

Mr. John McAllion (Dundee, East)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Walker

I hope that the hon. Gentleman will allow me to finish. I am talking about schools in my constituency -[HON. MEMBERS: "Which?"] I will name them if necessary.

Mr. McAllion

The hon. Gentleman will know that 205 meetings have been addressed across Tayside by education officials, not by councillors. The only councillors who have turned up at the meetings have been Tory councillors who have praised the education officials for their unbiased, knowledgeable and professional approach at the meetings. Will the hon. Gentleman withdraw the slur against education officials in Tayside?

Mr. Walker

My comments referred to the letters that I have received from my constituents about the way in which officials have presented the case in schools. They said that they were biased. I am explaining to the House —and I thought that the debate was about this—the views of parents. Parents in my constituency who have said categorically and clearly that they wish their children to be tested are now asking my hon. Friend the Minister what he will do about the education authority.

I now come to the councillors and the Labour administration. I have not mentioned them until now; only the hon. Member for Dundee, East has done so. I will do so now. What about the Labour administration?

Mr. Tom Clarke


Mr. Walker

The hon. Gentleman is not from north Tayside.

What about Mery Rolf, who stated categorically that he would not implement the law? That is effectively what he said and was another example of councillors failing to honour the legal obligations placed on them by Parliament. At what point do councillors supersede the views of Parliament?

The Labour party says that it believes in parental choice, but it cannot have only the Educational Institute of Scotland version of choice, which is Hobson's choice—do it our way or not at all. That is not acceptable to parents in my constituency. Many schools in my constituency, particularly primary schools, are very good. I should be happy for the system to show clearly that our good teachers are doing an effective job. The problem is the teachers and others in schools who know that they would not measure up under a testing system that would show clearly where they are failing.

I vividly remember the debates on school boards. It is humbug and hypocrisy for Opposition Members to say that they believe in school boards, because they did not when the legislation was proposed. When the EIS makes a pay claim, it will say that testing will require more money to do the job that we thought it had been doing. Diagnostic testing has considerable educational value, but it cannot give parents information based on national criteria. It is interesting that the Opposition, in their attempts to support the EIS, are calling for the support of parents. Parents in my constituency believe in choice and support school boards—I am pleased to say that school boards are functioning well in my constituency—and I want them to be given their right of choice, as they have demanded.

11.2 pm

Mr. Malcolm Bruce (Gordon)

It is a bit rich for the Minister and the hon. Member for Tayside, North (Mr. Walker) to lecture the Opposition about parental choice. The Minister has consistently argued that he wants to increase parental involvement and to take parents' views into account.

The Minister has failed to persuade the majority of parents that the national test is a desirable or acceptable addition to the education system. In the circumstances, he should at least withdraw it until he has had an opportunity to obtain their support. He should not be imposing it against their will.

The Minister did not answer my question nor explain how he intends to determine the parental view, how he intends to consult parents and whether he will accept that parents are entitled to differ from him. He should respond to their wishes rather than spend their money on promoting a particularly inappropriate advertising campaign to change their minds.

The hon. Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) and many other hon. Members have said that the material that has been produced for testing, and the guidance assessment, is valuable. I have not met a teacher or anybody involved in education who has stated a different view. The Minister must know that the objection is not that that useful additional information is being imposed but that, in the context of a five-to-14 programme, we are suddenly imposing a primary 4 and a primary 7 test—sudden death testing.

The Minister has said a number of times that testing is not a matter of passing or failing. He then said that he might find money for remedial education for those who do not come up to the mark. This is a test that a child cannot pass, but can fail. That understandably gives parents considerable cause for anxiety. The test is not genuinely to seek out how to improve the performance of an individual teacher, nor is it centred on the interests of the child.

The Minister must recognise that parents want to know how their child is performing generally. That cannot be achieved by insisting that the child sits a test over a six-week period in primary 4 and that the teacher must decide several months in advance at what level to submit each child. The teacher cannot later rescind that or change that decision, unless he orders several different tests. If the child does not perform to that level, he cannot be resubmitted at a later date either at a lower or higher level. That is what most people would understand as a genuine addition to curriculum and assessment. The Minister's proposals cut right across the whole five-to-14 programme.

Will the Minister now acknowledge that, by expressing their extreme anger and taking positive action, parents have in practical terms effectively defeated the pilot scheme? In reality, the overwhelming majority of children in Scottish schools have not been submitted for this national test. Can the Minister tell the House how many children have been tested, or at least report how many have been tested, at the end of the period? I understand that, in nearly all regions, parents are being told that they do not have to submit their children to this test if they do not wish to do so.

The hon. Member for Garscadden mentioned the Secretary of State's absence, but the Minister did not say why that was. Perhaps a reason why he is not here is that he would be embarrassed to have to confront the results of a referendum conducted in Dumfries and Galloway, which is his constituency. Parents had to answer either yes or no to the simple question whether they were in favour of national testing. The response was overwhelming with almost 90 per cent. of the parents of all children responding. The response was 66 per cent. no, 34 per cent. yes. If that is not a sufficiently clear, decisive majority against the Government's national test in the Secretary of State's own constituency, I do not know what needs to be done to prove to him that parents do not wish the test to be imposed.

I agree with the Minister to some extent on one matter. It would be appropriate for teachers who have not co-operated with the test to suspend action because parents are doing the job for them. Parents have won the argument and the point has been made. I make a direct appeal to teachers to accept that they have won. In those circumstances, the Minister should agree not to press any further action against them.

Great anger has been aroused and many parents have asked teachers not to impose the test. Most local authorities have found ways to co-operate with parents and ensure that the test is not imposed against their wishes, in part because this is a grey area of the law. Those parents who want the national test should be entitled to submit their children to it, but where at least two thirds do not the Minister has wholly failed to convince us of the justification of his proposals.

It is not good enough for the Minister to suggest that he is interested in the views of parents, but only when they support his particular prejudice. Where they have overwhelmingly, clearly and unequivocally stated that they do not want the national tests provided by him, he should do the honourable thing and accept that he must abandon the pilot scheme. He should sit down with parents and teachers at the Scottish Office Education Department and discuss how the material and progress made can be properly built into the curriculum, with the full support of teachers and parents, to meet the real interests of children.

11.9 pm

Mr. Mike Watson (Glasgow, Central)

The classic mistake made by the Minister in his doomed attempt to turn the clock back in Scottish education was that of bad timing. We do not need this debate tonight as we should have had it in November when the regulations were introduced.

The timing is also wrong in that, three quarters of the way through the testing period, the regulations are meaningless because three quarters of pupils have not been tested. We no longer need the regulations because long before they are due to come into play in March next year, they will have been swept out of existence, along with the Government who introduced them.

Scottish parents must be commended on their determination to stand firm in the face of Scottish Office attempts to impose an irrelevant and unwanted system of testing that will serve no useful purpose. I also pay tribute to the spontaneity of the action of the many parent groups that sprang up when the testing regulations were introduced. Those groups were in direct contrast to the £250,000 that the Scottish Office spent on the advertising campaign to launch those regulations. A further £750,000 was spent on administering the tests. Such expenditure is shameful and the Minister should have found additional resources for learning support. If the Minister is genuinely concerned about improving standards and assisting pupils with learning difficulties, the well-established system of learning support is the means by which to achieve that.

Regional councils have been forced to cut educational budgets, and in some regions teachers are facing compulsory redundancy. It is a scandal that £1 million has been wasted on the futile national testing exercise. It is a classic example of a wasted opportunity. It would not be so bad if it were only the Government's popularity that had suffered as a result of the testing, but our young people's education has been the loser.

My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Garscadden (Mr. Dewar) has already outlined the extent of the opposition throughout Scotland to the testing. I am pleased to say that a number of representatives of the parents' coalition are in the Gallery to hear the debate. Sooner or later, the Minister will be obliged to heed the views of parents and teachers. The Scottish Parent Teacher Council has articulated the views of parents and teachers, and the teaching unions, particularly the Educational Institute of Scotland, have opposed the scheme. Why does the Minister continue to ignore the views of such groups? Surely he cannot deny that parents and teachers represent their constituencies.

Time is restricted and I simply want to say that teachers, parents and the Opposition do not oppose diagnostic testing. However, we all oppose the ill-conceived, ill-prepared and ill-explained national testing scheme. It will not survive, nor will the Minister or the Government who introduced it.

Several Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. I hope that other hon. Members will follow the hon. Gentleman's example.

11.12 pm
Sir Hector Monro (Dumfries)

It is the greatest of pities that, whenever we discuss one of the most important aspects of life in Scotland, it always becomes a political football. Why we cannot discuss education without making it so important politically is beyond my comprehension. That has always been so, even 20 years ago when, for better or worse, I was Minister responsible for education. Then we had problems because of a lack of accommodation, shortage of teachers and facilities. Now, the education system in Scotland is in infinitely better shape. We have adequate teachers and the pupil-teacher ratio is much lower than ever before. It is a pity that we do not appreciate those favourable circumstances.

When I was Minister, the Opposition opposed raising the school leaving age to 16. In the past, they opposed the TVEI—the technical and vocational education initiative —and the school boards. They have been opposed to almost every progressive thought of the Scottish Education Department. If the system of testing had been called continuous assessment, I dare say that the Opposition would not have raised their head.

Mr. Malcolm Bruce

It is not continuous assessment.

Sir Hector Monro

Yes it is, in effect. That is what teaching is all about. Bearing in mind that the testing scheme was approved by the Scottish Consultative Council on the Curriculum, and that the tests were developed by teachers, I find it difficult to understand why the Opposition have such a rooted objection to them.

So far, no one has mentioned the fact that this is a pilot scheme. As such, it should be given a fair run and conducted as flexibly as possible in March and April of this year to see how it goes and to learn lessons from it. In that way, it can be improved and we can determine whether to proceed with it. I cannot for the life of me understand why the Opposition, including the Liberal Democrats and the Scottish Nationalists, are not prepared to try some progressive ideas in Scotland, and to find out whether they work. If the scheme does not work, we can think again.

The hon. Member for Gordon (Mr. Bruce) talked about Dumfries and Galloway. One can make anything out of statistics. He said that 6,854 children's parents said no and that 3,529 said yes. It appears, however, that about 2,000 children's parents—I cannot get firm figures on this from the authorities—said nothing at all. So only marginally more than 50 per cent. voted against. The other 48 or 49 per cent. of children have every right to be tested, if they want to be. It is wrong to spend so much time trying to prove that the vast majority do not want testing when that majority is, after all, pretty marginal.

What will happen to local authorities that do not carry out their legal obligations? In Dumfries and Galloway, the education authority has voted by 10 to seven to give parents the right to opt out. What, therefore, is the council's legal position? Does the matter have to be put to the full council? What happens if the decision is upheld by the full council, even though the council is setting out to break the law of the land? Will the law be upheld for parents who want their children tested? Presumably, about 4,000 parents in Dumfries and Galloway want their children tested, and they are entitled to know where they stand.

Many of us are deeply anxious about illiteracy and the fact that we are short of statistics about it. Do all our children have a fair chance of being educated to a standard of literacy and numeracy that will enable them to go into further education? If we do not know the statistics, it is difficult to know how important the tests are in showing up levels of literacy——

Mrs. Margaret Ewing

Get on with it.

Sir Hector Monro

There is no point in the hon. Lady champing at the bit: she is not going to get into the debate anyway.

We shall not make much progress in raising standards of education in Scotland—the whole objective of the testing system—if there is bickering between the Government and authorities. We should all concentrate on one aspect alone—raising the quality of education throughout our primary and secondary schools.

11.19 pm
Mrs. Margaret Ewing (Moray)

Although there is a great deal that I wish to debate, of necessity I must curtail my speech. It is a tragedy that a matter of great importance to the Scottish education system has been compressed into such a short debate. That surely spells out more strongly than ever the case for a Scottish Parliament in which we could address such issues, or at least a Scottish Select Committee in which we could debate Scottish education.

The Minister's speech in Committee on the Self-Governing Schools Etc. (Scotland) Bill, reported in columns 1373–74 of the Official Report of the First Standing Scottish Committee, now rings extremely hollow because he said that he hoped that he would be able to implement national testing with support from all quarters and that he would be able to introduce it without resorting to legislation. It is clear from all the opinion polls in Scotland that there is widespread condemnation of aspects of the suggested testing. That condemnation was voiced by teachers and parents and by no less a figure than Ian Morris, the former chief inspector of primary schools, who said in The Times Educational Supplement that the grounds were "educationally unsound" because the scheme of national testing currently advocated is reductionist and a product of structuralism. Perhaps the Minister will comment on that.

I wish to pose three brief questions to the Minister. He spoke about the possibility of action being taken against teachers who would not implement the tests. Will he spell out exactly what kind of action he has in mind? Secondly, what is the amount of the additional funding for learning support? In answer to my previous questions, he said that when working paper No. 4 on assessment had completed its consultation process he would be able to advise us on the amount of additional funding to be provided for learning support and diagnostic testing. Finally, when will the booklet on reporting from the review and development group emerge? That is a critical part of the jigsaw that the Minister is trying to complete.

The debate has not given us enough time to address the education aspects of this legislation. Scottish teachers and parents will be sad about the fact that we could not devote more time to this matter.

11.23 pm
Mr. Tony Worthington (Clydebank and Milngavie)

It has taken nearly six months to have this debate. That is regrettable, but one of the great advantages of the delay is that it has given us the opportunity to debate the issue on the basis of fact rather than theory. The fact is that where parents have had a choice they have overwhelmingly rejected the tests and the thinking behind them. I commend those ordinary parents from across the political spectrum and from all parts of Scotland who have spontaneously organised to say that they do not want the tests.

We have seen the consequences of pushing the law beyond a reasonable consensus. In 1988 the Government's consultation paper on testing produced 1,000 responses. Lothian Parent Action Group found that 3 per cent. were in favour of the Government's proposals and the Church of Scotland education committee found that 2 per cent. were in favour. Nevertheless, the Government went ahead.

On this issue as on others, the Labour party greatly stresses the importance of obeying the law, and it has never deviated from the argument that there is a duty on the local authorities to test. There is no doubt about that.

Everything that parents and local authorities have done has been with legal advice, which has been that it was within parents' power to withdraw their children from the tests. The Government have not produced anything against that. The legal advice given by Lothian, Strathclyde and local authorities generally shows that parents have the power to withdraw their children.

The tragic factor in this issue is that there is so much consensus and agreement that would improve standards in Scottish primary schools and improve the quality of information available to parents. We support the five-to-14 programme.

There is agreement that there needs to be continuous assessment and the setting of high standards. There is agreement that much better quality information needs to go to homes, and that the assessment of an achievement programme is an important element.

However, everyone has seen through the Minister of State on the subject of choice. He has promulgated the importance of parental choice up and down the country, but on the important issue—where we agree that parents should have a choice in law over the tests—will the Minister unambiguously give choice to the parents who have withdrawn their children?

All over the country, there has been massive rejection of the tests. In the city of Glasgow nearly 80 per cent. of parents have withdrawn their children, saying that they are against the tests. The other 20 per cent. are not for the tests but include those who have said nothing.

The Minister claims support from parents on the basis of an NVA survey, but the man in charge of the research, John McBeth, said that primary national testing does not have majority parental support. Parents are keen on tests that have information for diagnostic purposes, but not ones that label their children for the rest of their school lives.

A week last Sunday, the MORI poll in The Sunday Times—the "Chester Street Bugle", the Tory party house magazine—showed that 80 per cent. of parents in Scotland believe that there should be a choice allowing their children not to do the tests. If the Minister had any sense, he would abandon the tests that have already been abandoned by the parents. There is no question but that the Labour party will abandon the tests. Will the Minister see sense and abandon them?

Mr. Michael Forsyth


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Does the Minister have the leave of the House to speak again?

Hon. Members


Mr. Deputy Speaker

Leave withheld.

11.27 pm
Mr. Thomas Graham (Renfrew, West and Inverclyde)

I am 47 years old, but I can remember the day when the house master read out results to the school classroom and three or four young girls broke their hearts because they did not get the marks needed for further education. That is the fate to which the Minister is consigning our children.

In my constituency, most of the primary schools have clearly rejected the Government's proposals. In one of the primary schools, the votes for testing were 40, against testing were 86, so 67 per cent. of the school's parents were totally opposed to the testing. In another school, nearly 70 per cent. of the parents were opposed to the national testing.

This issue is similar to the poll tax. The Government do not listen to the men and women in the country, who vote to bring in trash such as the Government. A Government who do not listen to the ordinary men and women are not fit to govern this country. National testing should be stopped now.

11.29 pm
Mr. Peter Bottomley (Eltham)

We have not heard the Opposition's spokesmen explain why they oppose testing. We did not hear from the hon. Member for Clydebank and Milnagavie (Mr. Worthington), who has teaching experience, how the Opposition would monitor assessment. I heard something similar to the arguments advanced by the Opposition's spokesmen before the William Tyndale primary school disaster in inner London, when everyone said that continuous assessment worked. It was not until two thirds of the children had been withdrawn from the school that the education authority introduced any changes.

The education authority in London used to welcome every Scottish teacher because Scottish teachers had the reputation of being interested in achievement. That was when we had a Labour-controlled education authority. No doubt, it was similar to the ones that we have heard about, which will test——

It being half-past Eleven o'clock, MR. DEPUTY SPEAKER put the Question, pursuant to Order [22 March]:

The House divided: Ayes 187, Noes 251.

Division No. 110] [11.30 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Hardy, Peter
Adams, Mrs Irene (Paisley, N.) Harman, Ms Harriet
Allen, Graham Haynes, Frank
Anderson, Donald Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Henderson, Doug
Armstrong, Hilary Hinchliffe, David
Ashton, Joe Hoey, Ms Kate (Vauxhall)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Home Robertson, John
Barron, Kevin Hood, Jimmy
Battle, John Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Beckett, Margaret Howells, Dr. Kim (Pontypridd)
Beith, A. J. Hughes, John (Coventry NE)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Benton, Joseph Hughes, Simon (Southwark)
Bermingham, Gerald Illsley, Eric
Bidwell, Sydney Ingram, Adam
Blunkett, David Kennedy, Charles
Boateng, Paul Kirkwood, Archy
Boyes, Roland Lambie, David
Bradley, Keith Lamond, James
Bray, Dr Jeremy Leadbitter, Ted
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Leighton, Ron
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Lestor, Joan (Eccles)
Bruce, Malcolm (Gordon) Lewis, Terry
Buckley, George J. Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Caborn, Richard Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Callaghan, Jim Loyden, Eddie
Campbell, Menzies (Fife NE) McAllion, John
Campbell-Savours, D. N. McCartney, Ian
Canavan, Dennis Macdonald, Calum A.
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) McFall, John
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) McKay, Allen (Barnsley West)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) McKelvey, William
Clwyd, Mrs Ann McLeish, Henry
Cohen, Harry Maclennan, Robert
Cook, Robin (Livingston) McMaster, Gordon
Cousins, Jim McNamara, Kevin
Crowther, Stan McWilliam, John
Cryer, Bob Madden, Max
Cummings, John Mahon, Mrs Alice
Cunliffe, Lawrence Marek, Dr John
Dalyell, Tam Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Darling, Alistair Martin, Michael J. (Springburn)
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Martlew, Eric
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'l) Maxton, John
Dewar, Donald Meacher, Michael
Dixon, Don Meale, Alan
Doran, Frank Michael, Alun
Duffy, A. E. P. Michie, Mrs Ray (Arg'l & Bute)
Dunnachie, Jimmy Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth Moonie, Dr Lewis
Eadie, Alexander Morgan, Rhodri
Evans, John (St Helens N) Morley, Elliot
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Mowlam, Marjorie
Fearn, Ronald Mullin, Chris
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Murphy, Paul
Flannery, Martin Nellist, Dave
Flynn, Paul Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Foster, Derek O'Brien, William
Fraser, John O'Neill, Martin
Fyfe, Maria Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Galbraith, Sam Parry, Robert
Galloway, George Patchett, Terry
Garrett, John (Norwich South) Pendry, Tom
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend) Pike, Peter L.
George, Bruce Prescott, John
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Primarolo, Dawn
Godman, Dr Norman A. Quin, Ms Joyce
Golding, Mrs Llin Radice, Giles
Gould, Bryan Randall, Stuart
Graham, Thomas Redmond, Martin
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Reid, Dr John
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Richardson, Jo
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Robertson, George
Grocott, Bruce Rogers, Allan
Rooney, Terence Wallace, James
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W) Wardell, Gareth (Gower)
Ruddock, Joan Wareing, Robert N.
Salmond, Alex Watson, Mike (Glasgow, C)
Sedgemore, Brian Welsh, Andrew (Angus E)
Sheerman, Barry Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Shore, Rt Hon Peter Williams, Rt Hon Alan
Short, Clare Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Sillars, Jim Wilson, Brian
Skinner, Dennis Winnick, David
Smith, Andrew (Oxford E) Wise, Mrs Audrey
Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury) Worthington, Tony
Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E) Wray, Jimmy
Smith, J. P. (Vale of Glam) Young, David (Bolton SE)
Soley, Clive
Spearing, Nigel Tellers for the Ayes
Steel, Rt Hon Sir David Mr. Thomas McAvoy and
Strang, Gavin Mr. Ken Eastham.
Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Aitken, Jonathan Favell, Tony
Alexander, Richard Fenner, Dame Peggy
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Allason, Rupert Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Amess, David Fishburn, John Dudley
Amos, Alan Fookes, Dame Janet
Arbuthnot, James Forman, Nigel
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Forsyth, Michael (Stirling)
Ashby, David Fowler, Rt Hon Sir Norman
Aspinwall, Jack Fox, Sir Marcus
Atkinson, David Franks, Cecil
Baldry, Tony Freeman, Roger
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) French, Douglas
Bellingham, Henry Fry, Peter
Bendall, Vivian Gale, Roger
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Garel-Jones, Tristan
Benyon,W. Gill, Christopher
Bevan, David Gilroy Glyn, Dr Sir Alan
Biffen, Rt Hon John Goodhart, Sir Philip
Blackburn, Dr John G. Goodlad, Alastair
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Boscawen, Hon Robert Gorst, John
Boswell, Tim Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Bottomley, Peter Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Greenway, John (Ryedale)
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Gregory, Conal
Bowis, John Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Grist, Ian
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Ground, Patrick
Brazier, Julian Grylls, Michael
Bright, Graham Hague, William
Brown, Michael (Brigg & Cl't's) Hamilton, Hon Archie (Epsom)
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Budgen, Nicholas Hampson, Dr Keith
Burns, Simon Hannam, John
Burt, Alistair Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Carrington, Matthew Harris, David
Cash, William Haselhurst, Alan
Chapman, Sydney Hawkins, Christopher
Chope, Christopher Hayhoe, Rt Hon Sir Barney
Churchill, Mr Hayward, Robert
Clark, Rt Hon Sir William Heathcoat-Amory, David
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Hicks, Mrs Maureen (Wolv' NE)
Cran, James Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Currie, Mrs Edwina Hill, James
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Davis, David (Boothferry) Holt, Richard
Day, Stephen Howard, Rt Hon Michael
Devlin, Tim Howell, Ralph (North Norfolk)
Dorrell, Stephen Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Hunt, Rt Hon David
Dover, Den Hunt, Sir John (Ravensbourne)
Durant, Sir Anthony Hunter, Andrew
Eggar, Tim Irvine, Michael
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Jack, Michael
Evennett, David Janman, Tim
Fallon, Michael Jessel, Toby
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Rathbone, Tim
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Renton, Rt Hon Tim
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Rhodes James, Robert
Jopling, Rt Hon Michael Riddick, Graham
Kellett-Bowman, Dame Elaine Roberts, Sir Wyn (Conwy)
Key, Robert Rowe, Andrew
Knapman, Roger Ryder, Rt Hon Richard
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Sackville, Hon Tom
Knox, David Sayeed, Jonathan
Latham, Michael Shaw, David (Dover)
Lawrence, Ivan Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Shelton, Sir William
Lester, Jim (Broxtowe) Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Lightbown, David Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Lilley, Rt Hon Peter Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant) Shersby, Michael
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Sims, Roger
Lord, Michael Skeet, Sir Trevor
Luce, Rt Hon Sir Richard Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lyell, Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames, Hon Nicholas
Macfarlane, Sir Neil Speed, Keith
MacGregor, Rt Hon John Speller, Tony
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Spicer, Sir Jim (Dorset W)
Maclean, David Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
McLoughlin, Patrick Squire, Robin
McNair-Wilson, Sir Patrick Stanbrook, Ivor
Madel, David Stanley, Rt Hon Sir John
Malins, Humfrey Steen, Anthony
Mans, Keith Stern, Michael
Maples, John Stevens, Lewis
Marland, Paul Stewart, Allan (Eastwood)
Marshall, Sir Michael (Arundel) Stewart, Andy (Sherwood)
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Stewart, Rt Hon Ian (Herts N)
Mates, Michael Summerson, Hugo
Maude, Hon Francis Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Miller, Sir Hal Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Mills, Iain Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Thurnham, Peter
Mitchell, Sir David Tracey, Richard
Moate, Roger Tredinnick, David
Monro, Sir Hector Trippier, David
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Trotter, Neville
Morris, M (N'hampton S) Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Morrison, Sir Charles Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Moss, Malcolm Waldegrave, Rt Hon William
Neale, Sir Gerrard Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Needham, Richard Ward, John
Nelson, Anthony Watts, John
Neubert, Sir Michael Wells, Bowen
Nicholls, Patrick Wheeler, Sir John
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Whitney, Ray
Nicholson, Emma (Devon West) Widdecombe, Ann
Norris, Steve Wiggin, Jerry
Onslow, Rt Hon Cranley Wilkinson, John
Oppenheim, Phillip Wilshire, David
Page, Richard Winterton, Mrs Ann
Paice, James Winterton, Nicholas
Parkinson, Rt Hon Cecil Wolfson, Mark
Patnick, Irvine Wood, Timothy
Patten, Rt Hon John Woodcock, Dr. Mike
Pattie, Rt Hon Sir Geoffrey Yeo, Tim
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Young, Sir George (Acton)
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Younger, Rt Hon George
Porter, David (Waveney)
Portillo, Michael Tellers for the Noes:
Powell, William (Corby) Mr. Nicholas Baker and
Price, Sir David Mr. Timothy Kirkhope.
Raison, Rt Hon Sir Timothy

Question accordingly negatived.