HC Deb 23 October 1941 vol 374 cc1937-9W
Sir W. Jenkins

asked the President of the Board of Education whether he is aware that the private and confidential document issued by his Department on the post-war views of eminent educationists has now been publicly commented upon; and will he now circulate it to all education authorities in the country?

Mr. Butler

Yes, Sir. I have seen some comments. The memorandum in question, the nature and origin of which I explained in the answer given to the hon. Member for Attercliffe (Mr. Wilson) on 31st July last, has already been sent, on the instructions of my predecessor, to the executives of the several associations of local education authorities. It was prepared by officers of the Board to serve as a basis of preliminary talks between them and the accredited representatives of local authorities, teachers' associations and other bodies with which the Board are associated in the education service. It has always been a feature of our education system that such interchanges should take place between authorities conducting the local administration of education, the teachers who impart the education, and the Board's officers. Such consultations cannot properly or profitably be conducted in open forum. I am, however, prepared to publish a short statement indicating the major subjects and questions covered by this memorandum and I am circulating such a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT. It will, of course, be understood that other subjects not mentioned in the statement and not covered by the memorandum may also come under review.

Following is the statement:

Summary of main subjects and questions covered by the Memorandum.

  1. 1. The raising of the school-leaving age. Should there be exemptions after 14 as contemplated by the Education Act, 1936?
  2. 2. The need for re-defining elementary education. Should the appropriate division of full-time education be primary up to the age of 11 and secondary thereafter?
  3. 3. Such a re-definition would give rise to the following questions:-
    1. (a) Would the retention of separate Local Education Authorities for elementary (i.e. primary) education be justified?
    2. (b) Would it be necessary to make the provision of secondary education a duty and not a power as at present?
    3. (c) Should all schools at the secondary stage be administered under one Code of Regulations and be free?
  4. 4. The need to review the method of the distribution of children at 11 to the different types of secondary school. Should there be a further review and re-distribution at the age of 13?
  5. 5. The contribution that might be made (a) to maintaining the mental alertness and physical welfare of young people; (b) to the improvement of their vocational training related to their employment, and (c) the development of their social and recreational interests, by a system of part-time day continuation schools up to the age of 18 following full-time schooling.
  6. 6. The relation of the Youth Service to any such development in order to build up a complete system covering the social, physical and educational welfare of adolescents.
  7. 7. The need for an improved and extended system of technical, commercial and art training and for establishing closer relations between education and industry and commerce.
  8. 8. The establishment, in order to secure equality of opportunity, of a unified system of aid to enable students to proceed to the universities.
  9. 1939
  10. 9. With a view to making the school medical services fully effective:—
    1. (a) Should, local education authorities be under an obligation to provide for the treatment of certain specific defects in the case of children in both primary and secondary schools?
    2. (b) Should the responsibility of local education authorities, hitherto confined to children attending school, be extended to include all children; say, from the age of 2, through the provision of nursery schools and nursery classes.
    3. (c) Is further provision desirable for handicapped and maladjusted children?
    4. (d) Should an obligation be laid on local education authorities to make or otherwise secure the provision of meals and milk for all children for whom such provision is necessary in order that they may derive full benefit from their education?
  11. 10.The need to review the methods of recruiting to and training for the teaching profession, especially in the light of any decisions that may be taken as to the general framework of post-war education.
  12. 11. The question how the Dual system can be adapted to a reformed system so as to secure equality of opportunity and sound and economical organisation.
  13. 12. The possibility of establishing (a) a more uniform system of remuneration of teachers, and (b) a more equitable distribution between national and local finances of the cost of education.