HC Deb 28 November 1984 vol 68 c482W
Mr. Alton

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what his Department has done to encourage close links between secondary schools and local industry, commerce and other parts of the local community; and if he will make a statement.

Sir Keith Joseph

The Government recognise the importance of such links as a means of promoting mutual understanding, enhancing pupils' knowledge of how the nation earns its wealth, and helping to prepare young people for adult and working life.

The Department is committed to providing a lead on school-industry matters, but responsibility for local links rests with local education authorities and local communities. The Department wrote to chief education officers on 15 March 1983 drawing attention to the importance which the Government attach to links with industry and commerce and it has subsequently been in contact with a number of employers and employers' organisations on the role that employers might play.

The Department is in close touch with, and in some cases provides financial support for, national organisations whose principal function is to promote local liaison activities, including, work experience. It is also actively involved in the preparations for Industry Year 1986 which include considerations of how school-industry activities can be expanded and strengthened.

Opportunities for the further development of cooperation between schools, local employers and the wider community are being provided by the Department's programme of development projects for lower attaining pupils. The Department's microelectronics education programme is also providing a stimulus. The Department is also associated with a number of European Community projects which are exploring the further development of links between schools and the wider community in member countries.

The Department works closely with the Manpower Services Commission on all aspects of the technical and vocational education initiative, which is also promoting local links, and with the Department of Trade and Industry on all matters relating to school-industry liaison.

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