HC Deb 16 December 1986 vol 107 cc455-6W
Ms. Richardson

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will list those initiatives of his Department which have been of benefit to women and girls, since 1979, the cost or estimated cost of those initiatives, and the proportion of the total budget of his Department this represents.

Mr. Dunn

Since 1979 the Government have published a number of statements on curricular policy which emphasise the importance of offering equal opportunities in education to both sexes. Her Majesty's Inspectorate has published reports on good practice such as "Girls and Science" and "Schools and Working Life". Our outlook is reflected in recent curricular developments such as the technical and vocational educational initiative and the microelectronics programme, and in examination reform. New criteria for initial teacher training require that all courses should equip students to guard against preconceptions based on the race or sex of pupils. Her Majesty's Inspectorate has promoted regional in-service training courses for teachers on different aspects of sex stereo-typing. The newly established National Council for the Youth Service will specifically look at youth work for girls and young women. In higher education, increased opportunities have been offered for appropriately qualified girls and women to study engineering and technology, and funding has been provided to improve the effectiveness of careers guidance and information. Encouragement for flexible forms of continuing education, such as open learning, should be of particular benefit to women mature students with domestic responsibilities.

These initiatives in general form part of broader programmes and their claim on the budget of the Department could not be isolated except at disproportionate cost.