HC Deb 24 January 1995 vol 253 c133
9. Mr. Peter Bottomley

To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will list the schools in "15,000 Hours".

Mr. Forth

No. It was agreed between all parties before the research began in the early 1970s that the schools would never be identified.

Mr. Bottomley

May I put it to my hon. Friend that, as the agreement was made in 1970–25 years ago—we can expect the names of the schools to come out in five years' time under the 30-year rule, or will the schools' names be kept more secret than Cabinet secrets? While we are awaiting those names, is it not about time that more attention was drawn to the results of the research by Professor Michael Rutter and others, showing that the features of a school—ethos and structure—make a difference, and it does matter to which schools parents send their children? Is it not important that all education authorities re-read that important book?

Mr. Forth

The undertaking of confidentiality was given by the researchers before the schools and teachers agreed to take part in the project. It was not necessary for the Department to know the identity of the schools and the researchers did not provide that information to the Department. Therefore, the Department has kept no official record of the schools that participated and, regrettably, my hon. Friend's ingenious and impassioned suggestion cannot be followed up.

On the second part of my hon. Friend's question, of course a great deal of valuable research has been done, within the Department and outside, on school effectiveness in the broadest sense. We want to know more about what makes a good school: the contribution by the head teacher in particular, the governors, the staff and the parents. We are working hard increasingly to identify what elements make a good school so that we can disseminate that to the other schools and give them the opportunity to improve.