§ Mr. SCOTT
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that the control examination in primary schools is optional and is conducted by an examining board, composed usually of teachers and the executive officers; under how many authorities and in how many schools in Scotland no control examination is held; whether the teachers have the power to withhold or veto the control examination; whether the control examination is unofficial or is recognised by the Department; and whether, in the interests of both primary and advanced education, he will cause the control examination to be made compulsory upon all pupils and have it made official and conducted under the supervision of His. Majesty's inspectors of schools?
Mr. W. ADAMSON
I assume that the hon. Member refers to the schemes for the promotion of scholars who have satisfactorily completed the work proper to the senior division which must be submitted for the approval of the Scottish Education Department in terms of Article 17 of the Code of Regulations for Day Schools. A considerable latitude is allowed to the authorities in framing these schemes and I do not think it is desirable to restrict this. The approved schemes vary, but it is generally the case that, where there is a formal test, the presentation of individual pupils is at the discretion of the teachers and the test is conducted by an examining board of the nature indicated in the question. In five areas no written tests are imposed under the approved scheme. The arrangements for promotion from the senior division are under the continuous supervision of the Department through their staff of inspectors, and I do not feel that any such action as is suggested in the last part of the question is called for.
§ Mr. SCOTT
asked the Secretary for Scotland whether he is aware that, out of 91,599 pupils who left primary schools or departments for the year 1928–29, no 2561W fewer than 13,603, or about 15 per cent., had not qualified for proceeding to receive instruction in an advanced or secondary school; and whether, in view of this state of matters as regards primary education, he wll see that steps are taken for a thorough overhaul of elementary education in Scotland.
The reply to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. The matter referred to in the second part of the question is one which cannot be adequately dealt with within the limits of a reply to a Parliamentary question. I can assure the hon. Member that the position of primary education is continually engaging my attention and I would refer him to the discussion of the matter which will be found on pages 20 and 21 of the Report of the Committee of Council on Education in Scotland for the year 1929–30. It is there stated that the proportion of pupils sent out "unqualified" from the primary schools was 21 per cent. in 1920–21, whereas this proportion has now been reduced to under 15 per cent.; and that of those who enter upon post-qualifying courses the proportion who leave without completing at least a full year of the course has been reduced from 23 per cent. in 1922–23 to a little over 18 per cent. in 1928–29. I am confident that under the careful administration of the education authorities and through the zealous and intelligent work of the teachers this improvement will steadily continue.