§ Mr. Speller
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what powers he has to investigate and to control the teaching curriculum, teaching methods, staff qualifications and control of pupils at independent schools.
§ Mr. Alan Howarth
My right hon. Friend has powers under section 71 of the Education Act 1944 (as amended) to serve a notice of complaint upon the proprietor of an independent school if he is satisfied that a school is objectionable on certain specified grounds. These include instances where efficient and suitable instruction is not being provided or the proprietor or any teacher is not a proper person.
Failure to comply with a notice of complaint will cause the school to be deleted from the register of independent schools. It is an offence to act as proprietor of or a teacher in an independent school while disqualified by an order made by the Secretary of State following a notice of complaint. A school has a right of appeal to the independent schools tribunal against a notice of complaint.
In addition, under section 77(2) of the Education Act 1944, my right hon. Friend may also cause a special inspection of any school to be made whenever he considers such an inspection to be desirable.