Orders of the Day — Educational Expenditure (Priorities)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17th April 1951.

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Photo of Mr George Tomlinson Mr George Tomlinson , Farnworth 12:00 am, 17th April 1951

Perhaps I might say first of all how pleased I am with the tone of the debate. There has been an honest desire to face difficult problems and to realise, at the same time, the difficulties of the situation. So long as we keep in mind those difficulties and the purpose of education, the problems are capable of solution. They may be solved by one person in one way and by another in a different way, but we should keep always in mind the children—all the children and not specifically the clever ones or the dull ones. They are somebody's children and they are all part of the nation and they all have to be catered for. On the subject of priorities, it is not a question of "Whose child?" The question of priorities can only arise in the organisation and administration to meet the problems so that all will benefit. So long as that is accepted as the basis of administration, I am quite happy, but not complacent, with what we have been able to do in difficult circumstances.

The only way in which it will be possible to give, satisfaction to Members who have spoken and to the questions which have been asked is to attempt briefly to deal with each of the speakers and the questions that have been raised, and then to sum up with a general picture. I will deal first with the speech made by the hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr. Ashton). I would say first how much I agree with the way in which he presented this problem. He asked how many children were out of school at five years of age in Essex. Naturally he was interested in his county, as I am.