Orders of the Day — Education

– in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 7th November 1960.

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3.38 p.m.

Photo of Mrs Eirene White Mrs Eirene White , Flintshire East

I beg to move, at the end of the Question to add: but humbly regret that the policies of your Majesty's present advisers are inadequate to reduce the size of classes in schools, to plan for educational advance on the lines recently recommended by the Central Advisory Council of the Ministry of Education, or to ensure that all young people leaving school shall have full opportunities for further education whether at a university or other educational institution. At the recent Conservative Party conference at Scarborough, the Minister of Education, replying to the debate on education, was in a mood of excessive and, in our view, completely unwarranted self-satisfaction. He congratulated himself. There is nothing new in that. He expressed gratitude to his Ministerial colleagues for their generosity to his Department. Had anyone from foreign parts listened to that debate, he would have had the impression that all the children and young people of this country, perhaps with the exception of a negligible minority, were having the best education that money could buy.

This afternoon, we shall, I think, take a little of the shine off the faces of the Minister and some of his ministerial colleagues—possibly, I might say, a little of the shine off his boots. Our Amendment is fairly widely drawn, deliberately so, because this is, after all, the debate on the Queen's Speech and it is only right that we should allow hon. Members on both sides who may, perhaps, wish to raise constituency points to do so. The main subject of the debate is the crisis in further education, the crisis which faces children and young people leaving school within the next five or ten years.

Only recently, we had a debate on primary education and we have also had a debate on certain aspects of the Crowther Report. Now we wish forcefully to draw the attention of the House and the country, and particularly of parents, to the crisis which faces children if they are leaving school at any time within the next five to ten years, whether they leave at 15 or 16 or later at 18 or 19.

The competition for trade and apprentice training, for university places and, to a lesser extent, for technical training, will be more serious in those years than it has ever been before. The peak year for the 15-year-olds is 1962, for 18-year-olds, 1965. More of those children are staying on at school. More can afford to stay longer. More are seeking further education and the places are just not there.

We are entering what has been called an academic inflationary spiral, with too many candidates chasing too few places. I give one illustration: it is estimated that in 1965 the number of 17- and 18-year-olds who will have taken the A-level certificate in two or more subjects will be more than double what it was in 1958, while the number of university places for new entrants will have increased by only about a half—and that will be with luck. Whereas, in 1958, there were roughly three candidates to every two places, in 1965 there will be two candidates for rather less than one place.

It does not take much imagination to see what strain will be placed on school pupils, on the staff of schools and on the curriculum in what will be a desperate quinquennium. The young people concerned, the young people who are hammering on the door and who will be doing so especially between 1962 and 1965, are those born in 1946 and 1947. This is not like the new crisis in the primary schools which is coming up on the horizon where at least it could be said with justification that there was only five years' warning. In this case, Her Majesty's advisers have had fifteen to eighteen years' warning.

The truth is that the Conservative Party has not believed that the children of the common man had the capacity or desire for further education to anything like the extent which they have proved to have had since the war. It has been indubitably shown that, with the easing of economic conditions, children are staying on at school and that their parents are encouraging them to do so to a far greater extent than has been believed possible. They are reaching higher levels of qualifications and are, therefore, quite properly asking that provision should be made for them.

The Conservative Party has preferred to wait and not to hasten unduly, to attend on advice rather than to seek it. Now that the crisis is almost upon them, the Government are putting on a spurt. There is no doubt that they are trying to catch up, but it is equally clear from their public statements that they will not catch up for the next decade and that, with luck, by 1960 to 1970 they may get somewhere near, but only somewhere near, an adequate educational system.

I have no doubt that the Minister has come here this afternoon armed with figures about extra expenditure, additional places, new buildings, and so on and so forth. He probably has an impressive catalogue, and I shall not be at all surprised, because, although every now and again he drops some fairly resounding "clangers", in between he is a very smooth operator. Unless hon. Members are quick at mental arithmetic, I have no doubt that they will be impressed by the figures which he will probably deploy, because they will not be able rapidly to correlate them with the increase in the school population, with the rise in the national income, with increased building costs, and with all the other factors which ought to be taken into account. I am sure that the Minister will try to repeat his Scarborough performance of pulling out the plums and singing, "What a good boy am I".

However, we on this side of the House believe, as I am sure the informed public believes, that the partly opposite is being pushed ahead by events and that the Government have no real plans in mind for the development of further education in the next ten years. It is only now, when we are nearly in 1961, that we are told that there is to be an inquiry into the pattern of further education. I shall return to that later, but, after all the hints which have been dropped in so many quarters, we must clearly expect a statement from the Minister today about what that inquiry is intended to cover and when it is to start.

Before I go further into the matter of the necessity for an inquiry into further education, I want to take some specific points about which the Opposition have every right to be extremely critical of Her Majesty's Ministers—and I use "Ministers" in the plural because it is not only the Minister of Education who is concerned. At one end of the scale, where apprenticeships and trade training are concerned, he shares responsibility with the Minister of Labour, and at the other end of the scale, where universities are concerned, the Chancellor of the Exchequer is involved, as he is the Minister responsible for the University Grants Committee through which public finance is channelled.

There is also the Secretary of State for Scotland, with whom my hon. Friend the Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison), who is to wind up this debate for the Opposition, will be especially concerned. We have a galaxy of Ministers, but we convict all of them, without exception, and their predecessors, as guilty of failing the school-leavers and the teen-agers of the 1960s through having made inadequate preparation.

I do not wish today to discuss apprenticeships and trade training in detail, for we had a debate on that subject not long ago and there will no doubt be others, but, nevertheless, that subject is part of the general problem of further education and it would be wrong in this debate not to mention the extreme difficulties which face youngsters leaving school at 15 or 16 and going into industry. I will content myself with quoting just a few sentences from the report of the recent conference of people who should know what they are talking about in this connection—the National Association of Youth Employment Officers. At its recent conference, the association put it on record that the chance of getting training for a skilled occupation declined as time went on. That is part of our charge against Her Majesty's Government.

In his presidential address to the association, Mr. Heginbotham of Birmingham said: The proportion of the age group who become apprentices or the like declined from nearly 18 per cent. in 1956 to only 15·4 per cent. in 1959. Even if the British Employers' Federation recommendation to increase training places by 20 per cent. is carried out, we shall be short of 10,000 places in 1961 and 22,000 places in 1962. If the intake remains as at present"— in other words, if there is not the extra 20 per cent. of places in industry, and it is doubtful whether those places will be made available— we may be 26,000 short in 1961 and 39,000 short in 1962. Can we really afford nationally to lose these potential craftsmen and crafts-women? Can we be surprised that some young people, feeling themselves defrauded, become anti-social in their behaviour?

Yet at Cambridge, in September, the Minister of Labour had nothing whatever to suggest except to say that if industry did not meet its obligations, the Government will have to review the position". What a bromide! When will the Government review the position? Will it be after 1962? What a dusty answer to give the young people of this country, to whom he referred as a precious resource which must not be squandered. I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman leaves his platitudes and returns to pig breeding, in which, I believe, he was a great success.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

He always got the pigs the wrong way round, too.

Photo of Mrs Eirene White Mrs Eirene White , Flintshire East

There was a fine picture of him once with two piglings, which I recall.

Photo of Mr George Brown Mr George Brown , Belper

But they were the wrong way up.

Photo of Mrs Eirene White Mrs Eirene White , Flintshire East

Now, I come back to the Minister of Education, because he, too, has a responsibility for these courses for young people going into industry. He knows perfectly well that the programme for the day-release students is far from satisfactory. It is simply not expanding as it ought to be. These facts are based not on our calculations, but on those of the Minister. If things had gone according to plan, there should now have been well over ½ million day-release students. Last year, there were 440,000. There was a big discrepancy between what the Minister was planning in the matter of day release education and the number of day-release pupils who actually went to the local technical colleges.

Is it any wonder that Technology, which is a highly respectable paper, published by The Times, last month commented that in this whole field of training"— of young technicians and craftsmen— there is a desperate need for leaders. Only the Government can give it and until they intervene more forcibly, the job will not be done. The truth is that ever since the Can-Report, the Government have adopted a laissez faire attitude and not even for our young people in this real crisis of their lives will they intervene with private industry or do something to stiffen the Industrial Training Council.

All I can say is that in this situation, in which thousands of young people want training but are not able to get it, if we had still had the late Ernest Bevin at the Ministry of Labour, things would have been different. I was in the Department when he was Minister and I should know. He just did not sit around and say, "Please," when, for example, he had to find employment for disabled persons. He got into it and did something about it. We have every right to say that we find that the policy of Her Majesty's Government in this respect is completely inadequate and unsatisfactory.

The Minister of Education thought, apparently, that he was making one slight contribution to this problem by issuing a circular last June in which he said that if employers could be persuaded, if they had no room for apprentices themselves, to pay a full year's wages as well as fees for a young man who never came into their works during all that time, the local education authority might be permitted to arrange courses for him. It is clear—one has only to look at paragraph 509 of the Crowther Report to see why—that this sort of policy simply will not beat the "bulge". As the Crowther Report says, from the point of view of the individual boy the situation is alarming.

Incidentally, while we are on that point, the Minister might, perhaps, tell us what is being done concerning the excessive wastage of those who do get to training colleges, because there have been some reports about this. As the House will recall, in the Crowther Report we were given some shocking, startling figures. That Report put the number of total failures of those who started part-time education after leaving school at 25 per cent. and partial failures at between one-half and three-quarters of all those who originally started. Those figures shocked the country. They are extremely discouraging, both for the youngsters themselves, for their teachers, for their parents and, incidentally, for the taxpayers and ratepayers, too. I hope, therefore, that we shall have some news from the Minister about what progress is being made in dealing more intelligently with these young people who are taking part-time education for industry.

I want now to turn to three other major fields of further education about which also we feel extremely uneasy: the teacher training colleges, the colleges of advanced technology and the universities. I take the teacher training colleges first. The Minister has dropped a bombshell on the teaching profession in his latest circular. The directive to concentrate on training primary teachers and leaving the secondary teachers to the universities has created a profound shock in the teaching world. The great majority of teachers see in this a return to pre-1944 conditions and fear a damaging effect upon the solidarity of the profession. But they also fear the effect on quality of training and community life in the training colleges. This is a matter of great importance to which the House should address itself. It is particularly discouraging for those colleges who, quite rightly, in my view, have been concentrating in recent years on preparing teachers to teach in the secondary modern schools, where, as the House well knows, there are serious social problems as well as purely educational problems.

The Minister himself has put forward the difficulty of teaching the rather older secondary modern school children as one of the reasons why he cannot make up his mind about the Crowther Report. It is, however, very discouraging for the staffs in these training colleges, who have peen specialising in this work and preparing themselves, especially with the new three-year course coming along, now to be told that they must switch all their energies to training the junior and infant school teachers, with a very small proportion indeed of specialist and graduate teachers.

Sir Ronald Gould, the general secretary of the National Union of Teachers, and others have recognised that in the immediate crisis over the primary school staffs, it is possible that the Minister may have no option, but two considerations arise here. Had the Minister's predecessor, who was present with us until a moment ago, accepted the advice of his Committee, we might in this crisis period have had 4,000 more teachers than we are to have. How valuable and how useful those teachers would have been and how they would have helped to mitigate the situation as it affects the training colleges.

Had the Minister himself, as well as his predecessor, been quicker off the mark concerning the day training colleges in the larger cities, we might have had another admittedly small but very welcome relief. The Ministry was sceptical when Leeds wanted to start a day training college. The grant policy has been extremely ungenerous and we were told at the time that six colleges were to start next January. I see from the latest circular that they will not be open until next September—that is, in addition to the two which are already open—which means that they will be too late for the crisis year of intermission, as it is called—1962–63—when, owing to the three-year course, there will be no teachers coming out of the training colleges. We are well justified in saying that this policy, which should have commended itself to any sensible person much earlier, has been hold up by the dilatoriness of the Ministry.

The lack of generosity concerning grants for mature students has been incomprehensible. Only last week, we had a reply to a Question by the hon. Member for Darlington (Mr. Bourne-Afton) concerning the mature students, a matter which both sides of the House have been raising for months past, probably for at least a year. We are now told that these students are to have these grants, but not until September of next year. Why cannot they have them now? If they are in need, they should have them. This, again, is an instance of meanness and lack of generosity towards people whom the Minister is trying to persuade to come into the teaching profession.

There is another consideration in the situation of the training colleges which is part of the wider question of the pattern of further education in general. Is it true that the training colleges are not being squeezed now because of a temporary emergency, but may be permanently altered in their character because of the pattern of expansion in the universities? Or is it true, as it may well be, that training colleges and the universities are such worlds apart that the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing? There is much to be said, I think, far training for all teachers, whether graduates or not, and one would suppose that the inquiry which is so much needed should certainly be into the whole position of the teacher training colleges and their relationship with the universities.

Meanwhile, in his frantic search for teachers, for the moment just to keep pace, by 1970, perhaps, to bring down classes to a still quite inadequate size, the Minister is, of course, turning, as other and better men have turned before him, for salvation to women. He is, I understand, about to launch a campaign for recruitment. The courtship is timed to start, appropriately enough, in the spring, but the preliminary advances are now being made. The right hon. Gentleman saw a body of representatives of some important women's organisations ten days ago.

The Minister wants qualified teachers who are now married and have families to come back into teaching, and he wants some teachers who might otherwise retire to stay on. There is no doubt, of course, about the extreme need of teachers in both infants' and junior schools, and highly qualified teachers are needed in the secondary schools and in the universities, especially of science and mathematics.

We had the Headmistresses' Association meeting not so long ago, at which its president drew attention to one school which had been for seven years without a senior mathematics mistress, another which had been four years without a physics mistress, and another which had not had a chemistry mistress since it was opened two years ago.

As a result of the increase in the universities, of course, the staffing problem in the universities in the next decade may become as severe a problem as it is in the schools, and, therefore, to make full use of qualified women is a very proper matter. In the changing pattern of society the number of qualified women will be very much diminished, and we shall have to use married women or none at all.

So that is a very reasonable objective, and I hope very much that now that this problem is coming up into the universities it may have some effect on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, who is responsible for the universities in a matter which we have raised in this House on many previous occasions, and that is the question of taxation as it affects married women. The Minister knows very well indeed that this is one of the problems which the Government will have to face. At the moment they are simply not doing so, but they will have to face it if they are to have highly qualified women remaining at work.

I will give the House just one example which was sent to me just this weekend, apropos of this debate. It is of a married woman. I am not allowed to give her name, but it is one very well known in academic circles and the Minister would know it very well if I were to give it to him. She tells me this. She is married to a man who is also in the academic world. She is doing a full-time job at the university. She is paid £1,250 for that work a year. Because of the aggregation of tax £564 of that goes in taxation. Domestic help to replace her in the home costs £286. In other words, out of her total salary she has £400 left. Out of that she is trying to buy a car which is essential for the job, but for which there is no allowance other than petrol allowance.

Of course, she has other expenses, as anyone has who is doing work out of her home. She says: Even an enthusiast who did not undertake the work for financial reasons begins to feel rather bitter. Think of what is left for doing work of that kind, to a woman of extremely high academic qualifications. Her husband happens to be obliged to do a lot of entertaining at home—academic, not business—and they have four children. She says that it is not worth her while.

At the other end of the income scale the Surtax problem does not arise, but I would say to the Minister that if he wants more married women to come back he should consider that even their part-time service should count for some degree of pension, contributory pension, not just as qualifying service. I know perfectly well that the professional associations are not in favour of this, but if we want the services of these women we must look at the matter from their point of view, from the point of view of the women who are needed to do this essential work.

I would ask the Minister how often he or the Chancellor of the Exchequer cook the family dinner, not to mention breakfast every day, luncheon on Saturdays and Sundays, and so on. They must allow something for housekeeping allowance, or make some alteration in the tax laws, because, otherwise, they just will not get the women to come back. Why should they? Why should they be expected to do a professional job as well as doing a job at home which no man would be willing to do? This shortage of teachers, of course, is not just a temporary emergency. It will continue for many years. Married women have come to stay, and we must alter our way of thinking in dealing with them.

Now I want to turn to another set of problem children—the colleges of advanced technology. Here again, we know that there are considerable difficulties. Everybody knows that these institutions are very far from satisfied with their position. In recent weeks I have talked with principals and members of the staffs, and I can say that they are considerably disgruntled with their position.

Although their finances are now pooled, they come under the local education authorities and their salaries are fixed by the Burnham Committee, and yet their work is of university calibre. The Dip Tech. and the new M.C.T. are regarded as equivalent to university honours and higher degrees, and they very understandably ask, this being so, why continue to deny them the autonomy, status and salaries, including, incidentally, family allowances, of their university brethren? I know the history of resistance to this, and I know the difficulty with the rest of the pyramid of local authority technical colleges. The colleges of advanced technology are at the apex of the pyramid, and to remove them could, it is true, confuse and depress the regional, area and local colleges.

However, this dilemma is partly of the Minister's own creation. He was Minister of Education in 1956, when these policies were established. I will make one more quotation from Technology, from a very powerful article in the September issue, which pointed out: It was one of Sir David's most remarkable achievements to present his Circular 305"— establishing the colleges— as carrying out the White Paper on Technical Education when, in fact, it contradicted it. The House of Commons, which has never shown much grasp of technical education, gave no sign of tumbling to the switch. In defence of the House I should point out that Circular 305 was issued on the very day of the debate, and so there had not been much opportunity to study it. Be that as it may, the situation now is extremely confused, and it seems to me that this, again, is something for which the inquiry for which we are asking should be instituted. Lord Hailsham, the Minister for Science, discussed this in a debate in another place on 11th May, and admitted that the administrative position of these colleges is very much open to question.

I should like to say a good deal more about this whole question of technical training and also about the essential provision in the schools, but I will not do so for lack of time, but I hope very much that some at least of my hon. Friends will draw attention to another extremely disturbing document which has just been published, and that is the survey of the provision of scientific laboratories and equipment in the grammar and public schools. It was issued by the Association of Teachers of Science.

I think that this report illustrates a most scandalous state of affairs in the disparity of opportunity for the young people who are going to those colleges of technology, and to study science at the university, between the public schools, which are being financed by industry, and the maintained grammar schools, which are under the local education authorities.

I know that the Minister can produce some figures of extra buildings which are now being built but, not withstanding that, we are told quite emphatically that the gap between the public schools which are being financed by industry and the maintained schools has widened appreciably in the last two years. There is one law for the rich and another for the poor. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] That is all very well, but I would ask hon. Members whether they have read the report.

If they have read the Report, hon. Members will have seen that of the schools that were surveyed only 0·7 per cent. came up to the standard which is worked to by the Industrial Fund for the Advancement of Scientific Education, that is the Fund contributed by the big industrial firms to finance scientific provisions in the public schools, and only 45 per cent. of local education authority schools came up to the Ministry's standards Which are very much lower than the standards of the Industrial Fund. Incidentally, though I have no wish to be feminist in this matter, the Minister has two standards—one for girls and one for boys. It is only right, in this debate on education, that we should draw attention to this matter which I know has deeply shocked many of the Minister's hon. Friends as well as myself.

Finally, I come to the vital question of university expansion because, as I have said, the number of young people who are now qualifying and will be qualifying in the next decade for some kind of higher education is increasing by leaps and bounds. As we all know, the Government have been behind-hand in their estimates. I will not blame them entirely for that, because they have been depending upon the University Grants Committee which itself has been somewhat lacking in its estimates of the provisions that ought to be made.

We were told in 1956 that 106,000 places were required. In 1957, we were told that 124,000 places were required. Almost immediately afterwards we were told that 135,000 were required. Twelve months ago we were told that an extra 35,000 to 40,000 places over and above those already mentioned would be required. This estimate had been made three years previously by Lord Pakenham, speaking for the Labour Party in another place. It took the powers that be three years to catch up with that estimate. Now the University Grants Committee is looking to the early 1970s and it puts this extra 35,000 to 40,000, and I quote from paragraph 7 of its latest Report: … as a minimum first instalment. It would bring the total number of places up to 175,000, but unofficial estimates of 200,000 are already being mooted. If these estimates prove correct we shall almost double our university population in the next ten years. This is a truly challenging situation which demands stout hearts, clear heads and a generous purse. It is an academic revolution of a kind which has never faced this country before.

For a number of years we on this side of the House have been asking for a Royal Commission on the universities. It has been part of our official programme for years. We may fairly claim to have been far better aware than the Government that this was a field in which much thought and foresight were needed.

I might accept now at this late hour the argument put forward recently in another place that the time for a Royal Commission is passed. The time is too short. The crisis is getting upon us and Royal Commissions are apt to be a little slaw and ponderous in their operations. Therefore, it may be that a more informal inquiry is now needed which can get to work more quickly without holding up developments which are beginning to go ahead. We are absolutely right to make the point. It was becoming clear in 1954 that such an inquiry was needed. It was abundantly evident at least by 1957 that it was required, but because the Government have been so dilatory in their action we are now entering this decade without any real idea of the pattern that we ought to be following.

Apart from these matters of policy and the relationships between different types of institution of higher education, there is a tremendous physical problem of building, of providing land and equipment, and so on. It is a tremendous task. I have been talking within the last few days with some of the most distinguished architects in the country who are responsible for designing university colleges and teacher training colleges. They all tell me that they are deeply concerned lest, with the spurt of building coming upon us, the Government will loose their nerve and lower standards.

Standards at present are barely adequate for the kind of life which is needed both in the universities and the training colleges. It is extremely important, for instance, that really adequate provision should be made for the staffs as well as the students. I have been shocked at some universities that I have visited to see how difficult it is for the staff to mingle informally with the students because the physical provision is not there to enable them to do so.

I have a letter from a well-known college principal, who says: Some means of relating senior members to the Residential Hall community has to be found and here we need imaginative planning. Spinsters and bachelors are rapidly vanishing species and the possibility of flats or houses for married members of staff associated in some way with residencies remain to be worked out. One wants Scholars and not just Wardens and Bursars sharing the undergraduate life in some way. That is exceedingly important. It is important, also, in the training colleges.

I have taken up with the Minister before the question of accommodation for staff in teacher training colleges. In March, the Minister told me in the House that the accommodation allowance for married staff in training colleges was 1,200 square feet. I now find that his Department is passing plans for flats for married staff at 750 square feet. It would be quite impossible to get senior staff and their families to live in these boxes, for that is what they are. The staff will not stay there, or at least their wives will not stay even if the staff will. In a college where this is being done I spoke to the architect and he told me on Friday that the Ministry's standard study for staff of 10 feet by 10 feet is to be repeated 32 times. There is no variation, and no provision for the larger studies which some members on the staff will certainly need, because the schedule does not allow for them. I find that, although The Minister has not many academic distinctions, he is an honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. I suggest that he should look seriously at the standard of physical provision.

Another point made to me by the architects is that the finishes allowed and the installations are not good enough. This is a penny wise and pound foolish policy. The Government are saving on capital costs, but will have to pay later on maintenance. I am not at all satisfied with the provision that is being made. The Minister, of course, congratulates himself on the amount of money that he is spending on the building of training colleges. I remember that at a Conservative Party meeting recently he said that he obtained £36 million for training colleges over six years. But that is not much more than the cost of one trans-Atlantic liner and it is considerably less than the cost of one atomic power station which may be obsolete in about twelve years' time.

We must get this into proportion. As we all know, whatever we say about expenditure it is relatively quickly forgotten, even in peace time as well as in war time, whereas the buildings remain for generations. I hope very much indeed that we shall have a real care in this great expansion in the next decade in the physical standards which condition so much of the work which has to be done.

There are a number of other questions, including particularly the Anderson Report, which affect further education, and I hope that we shall hear today something much more specific from the Minister as to why he needs so many more inquiries before making up his mind on the Report. The two principles in that Report are, first, uniformity and the other the fact that at present neither the student nor the State has any sanction if the parents do not pay the amount which they are assessed as being able to pay. I have here some very useful information, if any hon. Member would like to see it, on the actual position of a number of students whose parents do not pay what they are assessed to pay.

I hope that we shall know whether the Minister is to carry out the major recommendations of the Anderson Report. His attitude to the Anderson Report, the Crowther Report, to the technical colleges and to the recent Beloe Report, and so on, all leave us with the impression that the Minister has very few clear lines of thought at all. He is a very active Minister. He is always making speeches and going around the country, and that is a very good thing, but activity is no substitute for policy. There is one really bold decision which we know has been taken on Conservative education policy since 1951, and that was to go ahead with the three-year course in training colleges, but that decision was taken by Lord Hailsham, though I give the Minister credit for having kept to it.

We are not at all happy on this side of the House that the Minister clearly recognises where he is going in this matter of education. Not long ago, a leading article in The Times Educational Supplement, referring to certain remarks of the Minister, said: They reveal him to be in a pre-Crowther state, almost pre-1944 Act. He has no clear picture of the future. Those are not my words; they were from a very reputable educational journal, and I think that testimony of that kind, together with the arguments and the facts which I have put before the House this afternoon, fully justify my hon. Friends and myself in the Amendment which I have moved.

4.23 p.m.

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

On this side of the House, we should like to thank very much the official Opposition for choosing education for a full day's debate during the debate on the Address. I cannot find that that has ever been done before. It is also unique, I believe, that the Opposition case should be opened by an hon. Lady and is to be closed by an hon. Lady. That satisfies me very much, because I have always thought that girls did not have their fair share in our education, and now that is to be remedied.

I should like to say straight away to the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) that there is no one in the House, either on that side or on this, who thinks that we are doing all that we ought to do for our children and young people. We are very impatient to do better, but we do know that one cannot do everything at once; and it is for that reason that any Minister of Education would welcome more frequent debates on this service, because the strategy and tactics of the service are always a matter for some discussion, if not controversy, and it is very important for the Minister to get the views of the House.

Before I answer the points raised by the hon. Lady, many of which, I think, were quite fair, though some were not quite so fair, I should like to refer rather briefly to one or two other matters which I think are of interest to hon. Members. First, I feel that I ought to say a word or two about the public library service. I had hoped that a Bill would be ready to be introduced this Session, following some very useful conversations which I have had with the interested parties, on the general shape of such a measure, but further study has been found necessary before we can draft the Bill. This is very disappointing, but, in any event, there is bound to be some delay, because I found, when talking to people in this service, that they were generally agreed that a new Act could not come into full operation until the reviews of local authority boundaries have been completed.

One matter here that needs further study is how to settle the qualifications of a library authority. The Roberts Committee gave very useful guidance, though not the whole answer. I agree that parish councils should be excluded, and that apart from counties, county and metropolitan boroughs and the City of London, which automatically qualify, a lower limit of population should be fixed. I propose 40,000 as against the Committee's figure of 50,000; this means that all those non-county boroughs and urban districts with populations of less than 40,000 which have library powers today should be allowed to justify their claims to continue as library authorities.

The real problem is how to deal with these claims. I have come to the conclusion that the Roberts Committee's recommendations, which are based mainly on a single figure of expenditure on books, would not do justice to some of the good work that is being done today. These matters, therefore, will have to be examined further from a technical point of view, and that should help us to find a greater measure of agreement, which is lacking at the moment, among those who have expert knowledge of the service. I am quite confident that this study will act as a spur not only to the smaller authorities, but also to some of the larger authorities whose library service today is inadequate. I hope that in that way, although we cannot bring forward legislation in the near future, the momentum started very usefully by the Roberts Committee will be continued.

Next, I want to tell the House that we are considering our policy in relation to sport, and we shall, of course, take note of the very interesting recommendations made by Sir John Wolfenden's latest Committee. That Committee was appointed by the Central Council of Physical Recreation, and the Council has said that it will require a little time to formulate its own views on the report, because it has upwards of 200 sporting and other bodies in membership which have to be consulted.

Much is being done under our present policies to increase facilities for sport. In my own Department, we are spending quite large sums of money—about £8 million a year—on playing fields, swimming baths, and so on, for the schools and technical colleges being built under our regular education programme. Then there is the Youth Service, and for that service extra resources will be available for investment in 1962–63. This ought to stimulate the local authorities and the voluntary organisations to consider the part which physical recreation and outdoor activities can play in the general expansion of the service.

In the meantime, there is one question that we ought to ask: are we making the best use of the opportunities that we already have? I believe that every hon. Member must know of some playing fields which are not now being used to the fullest advantage. In general, that does not apply to schools and educational institutions, where the sizes of the playing fields have been very carefully calculated to match the needs of their pupils. But I am sure that there is much scope for more co-operation in all areas between all those who control footfall pitches, tennis courts, netball courts, running tracks, swimming baths, and so on, and if they would get together, I think that the facilities for young and old could be a good deal better than they are today.

There is just one other small point. The House may like to know that for some time my Ministry has been studying how the history, geography and current events of the Commonwealth can be more widely and imaginatively taught in the schools. A handbook on Commonwealth studies is now with the printers. It has been written by a group of Her Majesty's inspectors, and I shall commend it as strongly as I can, because it is a very good book, to all teachers as a guide to a subject which I believe this House wishes to see widely taught to our children.

Having said those few words about libraries, sport and Commonwealth studies, I turn to the Amendment and to the hon. Lady's speech. The Amendment puts first the reduction in the size of classes as the duty which we ought to carry out before all else. We welcome that very much, and we recognise that teacher supply comes before everything. I should certainly be vulnerable to criticism if it could be shown that by setting a target, such as a date for raising the school-leaving age, I could and would obtain more resources and use them to train and recruit teachers faster than we are doing now.

I have looked carefully at this possibility, and it is my firm belief—I will try in a moment to explain why—that we are now doing all that it is possible to do to get more teachers. If this is so then it really would be irresponsible for me to name a date, because no one knows what the birthrate will be over the next decade, no one knows how many married women will retire from the profession, and no one knows how successful we shall be in persuading them to come back into service.

The first, and the obvious, way to get more teachers is to provide training places for all suitable candidates. We must, of course, take care not to lower our standards. As the House knows, we have accepted the advice of my National Council, and we are now increasing the number of places in the general teacher training colleges from 23,000 to 47,000. Could we have done this much earlier? That is a fair question to ask. The answer is that I do not think so, for the reason that more candidates of the right quality were not to be found out of the small age groups which were born before the end of the war. Things are better now in this respect, and with the larger number of school leavers, which the hon. Lady mentioned, we can look forward to more applications for training. Our present programme of 24,000 new places comes on top of the building programme for schools and technical colleges, and that programme itself is stretching the resources of a good many authorities.

I have all along felt that the plan of this teacher training programme was something of the very greatest importance. We shall be settling the pattern for very many years to some. Fortunately, the expansion coincides with the introduction of the three-year course. This gives us the chance to make life in a training college much more like university life. So we are planning bigger training colleges and siting them, wherever we can, near the universities.

I have already authorised colleges of 500 places and over in London, Loughborough, Coventry, Leeds, Sheffield, Exeter, the Liverpool area and in North Wales. Entirely new colleges will be built at Cardiff, Canterbury, Brighton and in the Nottingham, Oxford, West Midlands and several other areas. I give the House that catalogue to show what an enormous piece of planning this training college expansion is.

Of all the places that we have so far approved, 60 per cent. will be provided by the local education authorities and 40 per cent. by the churches and voluntary bodies. The churches have shown great faith and vigour in taking on this very large new commitment, and I should like to pay a tribute to the courage which they have shown and their determination to get their part of the programme going as fast as the local authorities.

It is not only the building plans that call for time and careful thought; we have also to ask the colleges to produce the kind of teachers that the schools need. More specialist teachers are wanted for housecraft, handicraft and physical education, and, of course, very many more teachers are wanted in mathematics and science. We think it right to incorporate most of these new places for specialist training inside the larger training colleges, so that the students will work alongside the others taking the general subjects. Also, our plans have to be adjusted to a number of important new factors, on which the hon. Lady touched. One is the coming expansion of the universities which the University Grants Committee now has in hand.

In the Ministry of Education we warmly welcome the prospect of a greater number of graduate teachers, but, of course, it is only realistic to assume that the bulk of these graduates will wish to teach in secondary schools. For the training colleges, this means that they will have to concentrate more—not by any means entirely—on the primary schools, especially as we know that in these schools the number of children will rise, and it is from these schools also that the wastage of women teachers is greatest.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Is the right hon. Gentleman suggesting that graduates will not be wanted for primary schools?

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

I am just coming to that. I thank the hon. Gentleman for raising the subject.

I have had to tell the training colleges that this change in emphasis is necessary in the interests of the schools, and I am sorry that some of them are apprehensive that one result might be that primary school teachers would be depreciated in the estimation of the public. But, surely, that would be a very old-fashioned reaction. I agree entirely with the hon. Member for Itchen, Southampton (Dr. King), who spoke in the House last week, that the idea that a primary school teacher is in some way inferior to a secondary school teacher is really quite wrong. It is as much out of date as the old elementary schools themselves. The primary school today is every bit as important as a secondary school.

I very much hope and expect that, as the universities expand—the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) has just asked about this—more graduates will want to teach in the primary schools. Women, we are always being told, do well to take a degree whatever career they may take up afterwards, and I am certain that women with a degree would find the primary schools intensely interesting.

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

And some men, too. But it is in the primary schools where we must have the women for the younger children. We cannot do without them.

The real question to ask ourselves is: how are we to allay the apprehensions in some of the training colleges about the possible division of the profession? I am sure that our aim here must be to establish a two-way link between the training colleges and the universities. I want to see some training college students going on to take a degree and, in the reverse direction, many more graduates taking their year's training in teaching in some of the colleges. A week or two ago I read a very good article on this subject by Dr. Alexander in Education, which I commend to hon. Members.

So, we can look forward to more teachers coming out of training colleges and more coming out of the universities. That is one good prospect, but if we are to reduce the size of classes as fast as I am sure we all want to do, we must do something about the wastage of women teachers. I agree entirely with the hon. Member for Flint, East that the educational world would be quite wrong to regard this as a temporary problem. It is something which has come to stay; more marriages and earlier marriages.

At present, we know that there are 50,000 or more qualified women teachers who have left the schools and who have not yet reached the age of retirement. We do not know where these women are living, nor whether they are in a position to respond to a call to return to the schools. We must, therefore, try to find this out. We believe that the best way is to start a campaign on a national scale—it is no good doing it local authority by local authority—and this campaign will come to its peak early in the new year.

I have had many talks, in preparation for the campaign, with the teachers organisations, local education authorities, and with the women's organisations mentioned by the hon. Lady. Out of these talks come two clear facts. The first is that the teachers now in service, and especially the head teachers, will be, if I may use the word, the best agents for getting married women to return. It is likely that any woman who has retired from teaching keeps up with some of her old friends in the profession, and it is the kind of welcome which they tell her she would get on returning that is likely to make all the difference. We must, therefore, get the full co-operation of the teaching profession.

The other point is also related to the teachers themselves, and concerns the organisation of part-time teaching in schools. We are told that a large number of married women would like to come back to teaching, but cannot come back to full-time teaching. The schools are quite familiar with the music and the dancing teacher who comes in once or twice a week, takes a class and then moves on. There has never been much of a problem about that kind of part-time teaching. Indeed, it is a good thing to notice that part-time teachers have doubled in numbers since 1957.

When the part-time teacher takes the ordinary subjects in the timetable, however, difficulties can arise. Naturally, head mistresses prefer full-time staff, and sometimes some of the full-time teachers may object to the extra load of out of school activities and of day to day chores which may, they feel, fall upon them if there are a good number of part-timers on the staff. The pattern of part-time teaching, therefore, needs careful working out, so that there is give and take on both sides. It will be very necessary that the hours worked should be fitted in to the married woman's home responsibilities.

It would help me very much if one or two local authorities would do some thorough research into this vital matter of part-time teaching in their schools. We have quite a lot to learn, perhaps from other countries besides our own.

When I was speaking of teacher supply I referred to our hopes of more graduates—

Photo of Mrs Harriet Slater Mrs Harriet Slater , Stoke-on-Trent North

Would the right hon. Gentleman consider whether a local authority such as my own need not have to include in its quota married women teachers coming back into the schools? I have seen it suggested that by 1962 it is hoped that they will be excluded from the quota. The point is that, although these teachers are employed by the local authority where they are living, they are not likely to be employed anywhere else because they are tied to their husbands' employment. It would help local authorities to get teachers back if they could be excluded from the quota.

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

That is a very good point. We have already given a bonus to the "lush" areas, as they are called, by allowing them to exclude from their quotas part-time teachers. We shall have to think about whether we shall need to hold out any other carrot. Many local authorities find it easy to get all the full-time teachers they want.

The supply of graduates is part of the wider problem. As is fairly well known, the Government have been giving a good deal of thought to the question of how full-time higher education in the country as a whole—England, Wales and Scotland—should develop over the years to come. The problems are complex and raise long-term issues which are fundamental to our national life. We need a positive study of the size and nature of the provision which we ought to be making. How are the different types of institution—universities, college of advanced technology, teacher training colleges, and so on—to develop? Is there a need even for institutions of a new type?

We have considered how best this inquiry should be carried out. A Royal Commission hardly seems the best instrument. Something more flexible and informal is wanted which could work more quickly. We propose at once to consult those primarily concerned about the arrangements and my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister hopes to make an announcement very shortly.

Meanwhile, in addition to the fundamental issues of which I have been speaking, there are, in higher education, quite a number of short-term problems on which early action will be necessary. Among these, for example, are the expansion plans already under consideration, and the future of the colleges of advanced technology.

Photo of Miss Peggy Herbison Miss Peggy Herbison , Lanarkshire North

The right hon. Gentleman has spoken of an announcement which the Prime Minister is to make. Having listened to my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White), who spoke so admirably, and now the right hon. Gentleman, it strikes me forcibly that many of our problems in Scotland are different. I hope that the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Minister will consider that perhaps not one inquiry, but two—one for Scotland—would serve the needs of the whole nation much better.

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

I will leave my right hon. Friend to answer the hon. Lady when he comes to wind up the debate.

The inquiry we have in mind should not and will not hold up work on these short-term problems. One of the questions that is intimately bound up with the future provision of full-time higher education is students' awards. Here, we have had the advice of the Anderson Committee. We have announced that a student will be eligible for an award if he gets a place at university and has two A-level passes in the G.C.E. We propose to abolish State scholarships after the selection to be made in the summer of 1962, and we shall permit the winners of open scholarships and other university prizes to keep up to £100 a year.

We want something to happen as a result of that last decision. We very much hope that we shall quickly see the foundation of scholarships at provincial universities. Such scholarships have hitherto been of little interest to benefactors, since the prize money would have led to a reduction in the award from the Ministry. In future, if a scholarship is founded the money will be kept by the scholar.

On the parental means test for students' awards, it is clear, given the further expansion plans now to be studied, that we shall not be able to say for a little time how much it would cost to abolish the means test. There is also the need to define comparable courses to university courses. I recently discussed this latter point with the local authority associations, and we foresaw considerable but not insurmountable difficulty in drawing the line. In the meantime, I will shortly announce a radical revision of the means test which, for a variety of reasons, has turned out to be a more complicated matter than we had anticipated.

I now turn to the other main part of the hon. Lady's speech, which dealt with the field of further education, for which my Ministry is responsible. This is so wide that it is not always easy to appreciate how much progress has been made since the White Paper on Technical Education was published in 1956. There is time only to give the House a few highlights. Let us take, first, the colleges of advanced technology. The number of their students taking full-time and sandwich courses at university level has doubled, from 4,000 in 1955–56 to nearly 8,000 in 1959–60—that is all in four years—and we expect an increase to 14,000 in a few years' time. We shall now have to consider what further contribution they can make beyond the 14,000.

Two developments hon. Members may think particularly interesting. First, there has been a steady growth of postgraduate work. We shall encourage this as much as we can. I am very keen that these colleges should vigorously develop applied research. This they are excellently placed to do because of their close links with industry.

Secondly, it is most satisfactory to see how these colleges are drawing their students from all types of school. Let us take the Northampton College of Advanced Technology: about 650 students there are working for the Diploma in Technology—that is, at university level. Of these, 480 came from grammar schools, and—an entirely new feature since 1956—100 from public schools, 40 from secondary technical, and 35 from secondary modern schools. But what gives me most pleasure is the fact that 230 of these students left school at 16 or before, and gained their places at Northampton by part-time study at a technical college.

That seems to be an answer to the hon. Lady, who mentioned that question of opportunities. The fact is that in our system of further education a boy is now beginning to get a good chance of getting to the top, never mind what happened to him in the 11 plus examination, or whether he left school early. Our aim is greatly to improve the opportunities for passing from one ladder to another. It must be the glory of British education that we always give a second chance.

Photo of Sir Austen Albu Sir Austen Albu , Edmonton

I welcome the figures given by the Minister, and hope that he will look to the future to see whether they can be maintained, but does not he agree that the chance of obtaining this type of higher education through part-time education depends on what type of employer a young man happens to have?

Photo of Mr David Eccles Mr David Eccles , Chippenham

To some extent it does.

I now come to our biggest problem—the students between the ages of 15 and 18, and the question of how many of them are not getting the education we should wish. There has been a great deal of progress since 1956, but, as the hon. Lady has said, it has not been fast enough or wide enough.

We have to recognise that British further education has grown up almost independently both of the schools and of the universities. In the early days a small minority of young workers gave up their evenings to try to make good the opportunities that they had missed at school. Some time later employers began to come into the picture, giving young people time off for study—first, on one day a week and, later, in a few cases, for periods of up to six months in a year.

Now, with nearly ½ million students benefiting from day release, I am sorry to say that the annual rate of increase has slowed right down, and we have to make important decisions between possible lines of advance. For instance, should we introduce compulsory part-time education for all the under 18s?

The House will not wish me to traverse again the arguments about the respective merits of county colleges, and raising the school-leaving age. The fact is that we all want to give first priority to reducing the size of classes in school and, therefore, the two other reforms will have to wait a few years before they can be introduced. I did, however, say last April that I was proposing to explore with the local education authorities and both sides of industry the idea of giving students under 18 what has been called "the right to day-release". These discussions have now begun in quite a promising atmosphere, but it is clear they will take a little time to complete. I hope that the fact that they are going on will stimulate release from certain industries.

Sooner or later, we have to decide whether to continue to base our arrangements mainly on the present system, which puts on industry the primary responsibility for training their young workers, or whether to make a major change to something more like the French system, under which about one-third of their young people get their further education and their initial industrial training before they go into employment. I would not expect much support for turning the present system upside-down. Industry's rôle is the major rôle. But, certainly, improvements, some of them breaking new ground, can and should be made. To give one example, we are encouraging technical colleges, in consultation with industry, to provide full-time integrated courses of education and industrial training during the first year of apprenticeship.

If we take a more general look at our present system we can see that it has three main defects. First, the various routes from school into further education have been neither very clear nor very widely understood. The worst feature of all has been that large numbers of 15-year-olds have either stopped their education altogether, or had to go for a year to evening classes, instead of starting straight away on a daytime course in a college.

Secondly, the requirements of modern industry have changed and grown a great deal faster than the pattern of technical courses, though much has been done since 1945. I am thinking particularly of the urgent need for more and better trained technicians, for now that the supply of scientists and technologists is improving, this is the greatest shortage.

Thirdly, as the hon. Lady said, too many students in further education fail to complete their courses. We can never eliminate this wastage altogether, but it ought to be possible to reduce it drastically.

We have moved to remedy these defects. During the last year my Department has been reviewing, reconstructing and bringing up-to-date the whole pattern of courses for technicians, craftsmen and operatives. To give the House some idea of how vast an operation this has been, I can say that it affects million students, several hundred courses, and every industry except agriculture, with which we are dealing separately.

We have drawn heavily on the Crowther Report and on the advice of the National Advisory Council, under Sir Harry Pilkington, and we have consulted all our partners in the educational world and industry. I shall be ready to announce detailed proposals before Christmas, and these will represent one of the biggest reforms in technical education that we have ever made.

But we must not look at the 15s to 18s who are no longer in school simply from the point of technical education. The Crowther and Albemarle Reports—and now the Wolfenden Report—rightly cast the net much wider. We must provide many more opportunities for general studies, and the proposals to which I have just referred make a good start here. More experiments are needed in non-vocational courses. We must encourage student union activities and opportunities for physical and social recreation.

Our great aim is clear enough. We want all technical colleges to develop as centres of further education in the widest sense, serving the whole of the community in their area. There is a very great deal to be done before we reach that point. The schools, the colleges of further education and the Youth Service have developed more or less independently. Now they must be brought into effective partnership and a coherent educational provision for our young people up to the age of 18 must now be provided. If we can achieve that and do the same for full-time education with the help of the inquiry which my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister will soon announce, I think that we shall have taken a very long step forward in education.

I apologise to the House for keeping ft so long, but there is so much to cover. I should like to make one more observation. When I was looking at the material for this debate I had also very much in mind that the general conference of U.N.E.S.C.O. will open next Monday in Paris. I asked myself whether the British delegation could truthfully report to the 80 nations there assembled that we were doing a really good jab in education. I admit that I had some hesitations, because we know of so many children to whose special needs we should like to be paying much more attention. We know that 2 million young people are still outside the Youth Service and that there are many adults whose interest in life could be quickened by the provision of more liberal studies and a better opportunity to enjoy the arts.

Wherever we look, there is, and always will be, much more left to do in education. But we can say that there is progress on all fronts. The educational building programme is the highest in our history. We are making sure that the numbers and quality of the teaching profession will steadily increase, and we are vastly improving the whole range of further education. There is no room here at all for complacency, but it is a fact that we are advancing and, I believe, in the right direction.

I hope that the House will reject the Opposition Amendment to the Address and that, in doing so, will tell us to go to Paris and give the U.N.E.S.C.O. conference an encouraging progress report on education in England and Wales, and, as my right hon. Friend will show this evening, in Scotland, too.

5.4 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

When the President of the Board of Trade was replying to a speech made by my right hon. Friend the Member for Huyton (Mr. H. Wilson) last week he used a Latin phrase and, when my right hon. Friend the Member for Easington (Mr. Shinwell) asked him to translate it, he said that it meant: "Don't shoot a man on the way down." The trouble in taking aim at the Minister is that we are not quite sure whether he is on the way down or the way up. He has, since he formerly held this office, been to the Board of Trade, and I rather imagine that I am the only Member of the House who believes that the most important office in the United Kingdom Government is that of Minister of Education.

However, let us be quite certain of this—the future of this country depends upon the way in which our education service prepares the youth of the country for a life of full citizenship. Compared with what other Ministers have to do, there is nothing more important than that. The Minister comes at a fortunate time in the attitude of the country towards education. We hear no complaints now, not even from the farmers, about the cost of education.

I thought that one of the most illuminating paragraphs in the Crowther Committee's Report was paragraph 13, which really opens the main body of the Report. It states: This Report is about the education of English boys and girls aged from 15 to 18. May I say that while I am a sound English nationalist, I hope that the Scots and the Welsh will not be left out— Most of them are not being educated."— I very much doubt that. I think that everybody of an impressionable age is being educated in spite of himself, sometimes for good and at other times for evil. But they are all at a highly impressionable age, with their characters still being formed and, except in rare instances, with their minds still capable of considerable development. It seems to us clear—to anticipate our conclusions"— That is a motto that Ernest Bevin used to apply to Ministerial statements. He said, "Put your conclusions in the first paragraph. If I agree with them, I do not need to read the rest."— 'that it is both necessary and practicable greatly to extend in the next few years the provision made for the education of boys and girls in their later teens. Looked at from where we are now, the prospect may seem daunting—there is so much to be done. Looked at, however, in the light of the distance that we as a nation have come in the last hundred years, the prospect is surely encouraging. Each step forward, which seemed so difficult at the time and to many so intolerably expensive, has quickly been found to have justified itself and indeed to have paid for itself. We could not as a nation enjoy the standard of living we have today on the education we gave our children a hundred or even fifty years ago. If we are to build a higher standard of living—and, what is more important, if we are to have higher standards in life—we shall need a firmer educational basis than we have today. Materially and morally, we are compelled to go forward. I thoroughly agree with every word in that paragraph. It should be a great encouragement to the Minister to know that that sentiment is very generally held now in all ranks of society. He has now in front of him a series of Reports—Crowther, Anderson, Beloe, Wolfenden, Albemarle—all of them dealing, in the main, with the problems advanced in the Crowther Report.

One of the things that disappoints me with regard to the right hon. Gentleman is the fact that he is always going to make a staggering pronouncement in a few days' or a few weeks' time. I admit that he is getting on a little bit, because when I heard him at Easter on the Crowther Report I thought that he had postponed it to the Greek Kalends. However, I understand that wiser counsels are now prevailing. The right hon. Gentleman can be quite sure that hon. Members on both sides of the House will await with interest the various statements which he has foreshadowed in his speech today—for there has been very little definite statement—with an assurance that in a few months' time we shall get an answer to most of the problems so ably raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) and the other matters which the right hon. Gentleman himself introduced into the discussion.

I do not intend to comment on what the right hon. Gentleman said on the question of public libraries. I think it is a great pity that this matter has to be put off until the Boundary Commissioners' Report for, as far as I can see, there is little hope of any Report of the Boundary Commissioners getting unanimous support in the House. Indeed, I was told by two or three Conservative Members of the House who attended the conference at Scarborough that it was the most deadly dull conference that they had ever attended until the chairman of the Rutland County Council stated that he was not in favour of committing suicide, and that the excitement generated by that bold announcement compensated for all the tedium of previous discussions. At any rate, it does not foreshadow an easy passage for the various Reports that the Boundary Commissioners will shortly be presenting to us.

With regard to the Wolfenden Report, I hope that that will receive consideration from the Minister when he gets the Report from the Central Council of Physical Recreation as a basis of a new social outlook on the matter in this country. I do not want to see the universities repeating the blunders of the American universities in giving places in university colleges solely on a man's athletic abilities, for we all know the scandals to Which that led a few years ago. I am quite certain that we shall have to consider the deplorable division in this country into amateur and professional status when we face the competition from the totalitarian countries. How a man can avoid being a professional in the way that we regard professionals in those countries seems to me to be a matter which requires a great deal of explanation.

I recollect that we once had a discussion in the House on rowing in which the wish was expressed that apprentices on Tyneside should appear at Henley to row in the eights. When I pointed out that as they were engaged in the trade of boat building they were excluded as professionals, there was so much commotion that even the A.R.A. altered its rules. It once tried to exclude an eight from the Australian police on the ground that they were manual workers which was regarded, I understand, as a great insult by the police forces in this country as well as those in Australia.

Let us face the fact that the greater part of the right hon. Gentleman's speech today was really dealing with the aspects of a new social outlook for future generations as a result of the education service, and what applies in sport in that consideration will apply everywhere else.

I was glad that my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) interrupted the right hon. Gentleman about the position of graduate teachers in primary schools. I sincerely hope that we in this country shall get a faculty of education in most universities on the lines of the educational faculties in the American universities. I once had the great privilege of spending a day with the educational faculty of Harvard. After my address to the students in training, the head of the faculty said that it was a jolly fine speech but that I had spoilt that lot for the American system.

I do not desire the American system of education in this country, but I wish that we could get the same status for the training of teachers in the universities of this country as they have in America. The most disappointing interview which the right hon. Gentleman the present Home Secretary and I had in the framing of the Education Act, 1944, was when we met the vice-chancellors of the universities and urged them to make greater provision for the training of teachers in their universities. I know that they were afraid of being swamped by teachers. It might have been a bad thing for the universities, but I hope that with the expansion in numbers that is now taking place the position of the teacher who desires to take a university course in pedagogy will not be overlooked.

I hope that the arrangements which the right hon. Gentleman is trying to work out between the training colleges and the universities will be successful and that there will be a joint approach to the problem, for I do not want to see the universities get into a highly specialised position. I think that they ought to have welcomed advanced courses in technology. I do not believe that any diploma given by some non-university institution will for many years to come have the same status, not merely in the educational world but in the eyes of the community as a whole, as a university degree with all its associations with the widest ranges of learning.

While I am afraid that the decision in that matter has been taken, I hope that we are not going to have training in the training colleges regarded as something inferior in social and intellectual status to the training given in the universities. I hope that arrangements will be made by which many of the training colleges can become colleges of a university in the same way that some of the technical colleges have been made constituent colleges of a university.

The University of Durham honoured me by making me a doctor of civil law—I feared that I was going to be made a doctor of canon law—and on the afternoon that the degree was conferred upon me by Professor Trevelyan a large number of students of Sunderland Technical College were given their degrees of bachelor of science in the University of Durham, and in that way their higher technical training was definitely associated with one of the great universities of the country. I think that a relationship highly to be desired over all this range.

I regret that the Minister is not yet in a position to make a statement about the Anderson Report and it's recommendation that there should be no means test for the parents of children of either sex who are accepted by universities for a course there. When one considers the situation of this country it seems to me that every youth of eighteen capable of taking a university course and who has been accepted for one but debarred from taking it, represents a heavy loss suffered by the country. We shall never be among the big nations of the world in numbers. The United States, Russia, India and China will always outweigh us in numbers. We have to remain the greatest nation in the world and every thwarted, frustrated life among the small number which we have, compared with the far bigger nations I have mentioned, is a loss to our potential position in the world and something which we ought to regard as very serious.

Where a youth, whether or not he be the son of Charles Clore—or any other gentlemen who, by ways which are perfectly legal, has amassed a large fortune—gets an opportunity of going to a university, I do not think that we ought to say to his father, "How much will you pay towards the cost?" If the parent is willing to forgo such earning capacity as the youth may have, I think it to the advantage of the country to see that the youth gets the best possible education for which his ability and aptitude qualify him. After all, the fundamental alteration which we made in the 1944 Act related to the duty of a parent. The requirement used to be that it shall be the duty of every parent to secure for the child an efficient elementary instruction in reading, writing and arithmetic. If the parent provided that, the law had no further claim on him. The right hon. Gentleman the present Home Secretary and myself altered that requirement and made it the duty of the parent of every child to secure for the child a full-time education suitable to his age, ability and aptitude. The greatest of those three is the last—aptitude. That is the contribution to the mental and physical strength of the nation which the child is best fitted to make when he arrives at manhood. Where it leads him to the university I think that no barrier should be placed in his way.

In the months of July, August and September in the years between the wars I spent some time, after consultation with the parents of children who had managed to get a place in a university, going round to see whether I could pick up £10 from this charity, £15 from that city company and £10 from some other charity in order to scrape together the amount to enable a youth to undertake his university career. In the end, most of them went up, as I did, very ill-equipped financially to stand the strain of a three-year course I broke down under it, but I resolved then that one of my objects in life would be to see that no qualified youth should be debarred from completing his university course because of lack of means. I never get youths coming to me now and saying, "Do you know where I can get an extra £20?" Let us rejoice that in the main, through State scholarships and major scholarships granted by local education authorities and others, youths today are not troubled about financial problems. Incidentally, before those State scholarships are abolished, we on this side of the House want to know what the Government propose to put in their place.

During the last three years I have spent the same amount of time which I once used to spend trying to find money in attempting to find university places for well-qualified youths. I know that it is very difficult to find out exactly what is the shortage of places, because most of these youths are compelled to apply to any university likely to take them. Therefore, the total number of applicants to the universities assumes a proportion which does not indicate the real need.

I say to the Minister that the speedy provision of the university places which he has mentioned today must be one of his first assignments in attempting to deal with the problem of those young people who have proved their possession of the capacity, ability and aptitude to profit from a university education. As the right hon. Gentleman pointed out, the figures have grown considerably in recent years. I regard it as one of the best signs of the times, in education, that families which, a few years ago, regarded a university training as quite outside the realm of possibility for them, now, if they have a lad or a girl of the right calibre, regard it as part of the education service that the child be provided with an opportunity to develop himself or herself to the full.

The way in which this conception of education is regarded as part of a child's birthright in this country is one of the best assurances that even if we live in what is called an affluent society we also live in a society whose humblest members expect an equality of opportunity which previous generations did not regard as their right. I recollect being at a meeting of the school managers of my own old elementary school on an occasion when the ex-headmaster, then the correspondent of the school, reported that a certain girl had gained a county scholarship at a grammar school. I said to him, "Is that the granddaughter of—?" a man of the same name who was a boy with me at school. That man, by the time he had reached 50 years of age, had the longest record for poaching of anyobdy in the neighbourhood. "Is she his granddaughter?" I asked. He said to me, "Yes". "Well" I said, "her grandfather would not have taken a scholarship." "No", he said, "it is the only thing in the locality which he would not have taken".

There is now an expectation in all branches of society that the broad highway from the primary school to the university shall be open to all who have the ability and aptitude to tread it. I shall vote for the Amendment to the Motion for an Address. I think that the Minister, in his second incarnation in this office, has the greatest opportunity that any Minister of Education has ever had. Even chairmen of finance committees of local education authorities find it difficult now to be critical of education estimates. There is a burning desire that these services shall expand.

I welcome the Amendment because it puts in the first place, as the first essential, that there shall be a reduction in the size of classes. Education consists in the conversation and contact between a mature mind and an immature mind. That is education in its essence. When I left college I had a class of seventy-three. I never had a class of fewer than fifty-five under my charge when I was a teacher. The only time when one could really teach them anything was on the day when half the class was away on handicrafts. Then one had some chance for individual study for the twenty-seven or twenty-eight who were left in the classroom.

The reduction in the size of classes so that the full impact of the new definition of the parents' duty can be carried out in the schools is the first job for the Minister to undertake. No matter how spectacular the opportunities provided in the higher ranks of learning may be, they will fail of their full effect unless from the earliest day of the child's education, he has the advantage of being taught in a small class, in which a skilled teacher can bring to bear all the qualities of a wisely matured mind to the stirring up the innate abilities and aptitudes that every child in his class has.

5.33 p.m.

Photo of Mr Airey Neave Mr Airey Neave , Abingdon

I profoundly agree with what the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) said, particularly when he said that the future greatness of this country was bound up with education. That is the reason why I want to speak about education from the industrial point of view, because I believe that our prosperity is bound up with the success of my right hon. Friend in the future in the sphere of technical and scientific education. I think this is a subject we all recognise as being of major importance and we very much welcome this debate tonight.

In discussing relations between industry and education I should like first to congratulate my right hon. Friend on the progress he is making on the problem of technical education. He referred to the colleges of advanced technology which, in only a few years, have doubled the number of students. That is very good progress and something of very great importance. It is in the field of applied research that those colleges can be so useful in their links with industrial firms. As my right hon. Friend said in his speech, one cannot do everything at once, but I feel that very much has been done towards providing the sinews of war, as it were, in the competition we have to face in the industrial field.

The hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White), who moved the Amendment, drew attention to a matter which interests me very much with reference to the report that the Association of Teachers of Science has made about laboratory equipment. I hope my right hon. Friend will take note of this point because equipment is very important indeed. One might also say that we cannot indefinitely duplicate or reduplicate research facilities—we cannot have a Jodrell Bank at every university—but this is a point I ask my right hon. Friend to look into. I think a lot can be done by methods of co-operation between consortia of universities and technical estab- lishments which might bring about a sharing of equipment for science teaching.

The question of day release is also very important. From the point of view of industry, I realise that certainly progress has not gone nearly far enough. As my right hon. Friend openly says, and I agree with him, it has been very unsatisfactory so far. I think he might agree that there could be more meetings, as is being done in the engineering field with which I am concerned at the moment, between groups of headmasters and headmistresses and careers masters and mistresses with local companies. They should follow the precedent of spending a day at the works and studying the products of a particular company, just as the company's representatives should visit the schools.

The point has been raised about what should be done on this question of encouraging industry to go forward with day releases. I am glad to hear that discussions are going ahead on this question. As to where the responsibility should be, personally I should prefer it to remain with the industries, for reasons which appear in the Crowther Committee's Report, where it is stated that there is considerable diversity in industry and the circumstances are somewhat varied. I should not want to be dogmatic about that point until we hear the results of the discussions which my right hon. Friend is having on this problem.

It is quite true, as he said—I think it was in the last education debate—that too many employers do not see the benefits of this day release system and the right to claim release, but, as the Crowther Committee pointed out, it depends very much on the type of industry. Although it is true that it is in only a minority of industries at the moment that the day release system has emerged, on the other hand one can see in the engineering industry the growth of apprenticeships, which is very encouraging. According to Crowther, 57 per cent. of the boys entering apprenticeships went into engineering, shipbuilding and building industries and 53 per cent. of all employees granted day release for education came from those same industries.

I would point to the work which is being done and the progress being made in the engineering industry in this respect. While it is true that the structure and the attitude of individual employers determines the issue, I hope my right hon. Friend will go about organising further meetings of the kind I suggested with the staffs of educational institutions.

I want to cover two broad questions in what I have to say. I think they are both problems which require very regular analysis and review. At this stage of our development in this century, we are faced with the problem of turning new scientific concepts into practical things. That is why we need as many scientists, technologists, technicians and craftsmen as we can get. I do not know about the means. I feel that the £100 million for building and rebuilding colleges is excellent as far as it goes, but I believe we might require more for that purpose in the years to come. On the other hand, there has been a remarkable growth in the work of these colleges. I do not think any hon. Member will dispute that.

In the long run, the rate of industrial expansion will be determined by the rate at which we produce trained technologists. No hon. Member will doubt it. But the discussion on technical education and between industry and education authorities may well be about what subjects we shall teach and what are the most up-to-date and practical subjects for technical education.

I want to draw attention to one special feature about our economic development—the industrialisation of underdeveloped countries. The demand in the older countries of what may be called the classic industries for mechanical engineering, civil engineering, road engineering and house and bridge building will be considerable, but what about the new industries? I draw hon. Members' attention to a Paper by Lord Nathan to the Royal Society of Arts on this subject in March, 1959, which makes extremely interesting reading. He drew attention to industries which are developing, such as the electronics industry, which is providing a whole new range of products, the chemical engineering industry, new plastics and fibres and nuclear engineering and aircraft production. My hon. Friend will, I believe, agree that technological education needs broadening into these new fields as soon as possible.

We also need academically trained scientists and engineers. How are we to assess the demand for such scientists? This has been discussed for several years. I think that we are in danger of getting things out of proportion and of using a number of phrases which may well be misleading, particularly in using statistics and in international comparisons. Mr. Khrushchev said in the United States on 25th September, We graduate three times as many engineers as you"— meaning the United States— and whoever has the knowledge has the future at his feet. Allowing for propaganda, international comparisons of this sort may well be misleading, because there is much informed opinion at present to show that in pure science—I repeat, pure science—we are not behind the Russians and the Americans. I draw attention to Professor Jewkes' address last year to the British Association about that; it was another very interesting address, and a very good critical analysis of the whole problem. I think my right hon. Friend knows that it is in technology and applied science that we are behind, and that is our problem.

The statistics which one sees in certain publications can be very misleading. One difficulty, for instance, is the statement that Russia and the United States have about the same number of qualified engineers but the total industrial output in Russia is lower than in the United States. I do not know that these comparisons are necessarily the best guide. What I do know is that we in this country have to make an all-out effort to produce those who will learn technology and applied sciences for the benefit of our productivity.

The Committee on Scientific Manpower in Britain found that there exists a definite relationship between the rate of increase of industrial production and the number of trained scientists and engineers one employs, but, again, quality is what matters. I emphasise this theme, which has been emphasised before but cannot be emphasised too often—that it is not the quantity of technologists and engineers which we can produce that counts.

If, on the assumption of that Committee, we had a 4 per cent. increase annually in industrial production until the year 2050, there would then have to be over 5 million scientists and engineers in this country, and I do not believe that that is a realistic figure. Indeed, it is a ridiculous result. I believe that if we go on producing the people of the quality we are now producing we have not very much to fear.

It seems to me that we need much better criteria for studying the problem and, while accepting the advances in our standard of living which may be brought about through science and technology, we should never speak too much in terms of quantity. In any event, if we are aiming at producing industrial leaders, which is a very important point, it is necessary to look at the need for choosing engineers and technologists who are also capable of administration and management. Some of our firms are running courses on financial and legal subjects and labour relations, and this is an important area of training. The London School of Economics has a one-year course in the general theory and administration of business. Are not these courses of interest to other universities? I should have thought that provincial and other universities would welcome and like to study them.

We have heard much about the need to increase our exports, and I think that one of the main failures in our salesmanship abroad has been the lack of people who speak an adequate number of foreign languages. We should realise that our competitors expect their salesmen abroad—it could be done through business courses of the kind I am speaking about—to know at least four foreign languages. That is the case in Dutch firms and I believe in German firms, too. Trainees have to be able to write a business letter in four foreign languages. I want to emphasise the importance of languages, which I am sure is one of the keys to the exports problem about which we have all been worried.

Despite these weaknesses and difficulties, if we can maintain the quality of our industrial scientists, engineers and technicians and increase their numbers in a proportion which does not deprive us of historians, doctors and economists, we shall be in a favourable position to compete. I am grateful to my right hon. Friend for what he said about Commonwealth studies, and I am sure that under his lead the Ministry will appreciate these problems and will take note of the very true remark of the right hon. Member for South Shields, that the future greatness and prosperity of this country is bound up with education and technical education in particular will make a great contribution

5.48 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Boyden Mr James Boyden , Bishop Auckland

I shall not follow the hon. Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave) in his very constructive analysis of some of our educational problems, for I want to address myself to some extent to some of the points made by the Minister. I always like to listen to the Minister's disarming manner. Had there been a Tory Government in 1947–48 and had he been Colonial Secretary, I can well imagine that he would have said to Pandit Nehru and Dr. Nkrumah very nice things about their countries but would have ended by saying that it was quite impossible for them to become independent because "you cannot do everything at once". In education, he repeatedly tells public meetings and the House why things cannot be done and why the pace is that which his Government and Chancellor have set.

I was particularly interested to find that he is asking local authorities to do some research into the problem of part-time teachers. His Government hardly set a good example in the matter of research, for his own Ministry did not know the numbers of the bulge or the number of teachers required for a very long time. The University Grants Committee, which is presumably in close contact with the Chancellor, has had several guesses at the right university population.

The Minister of Health does not know the number and state of the houses he owns or the state of the tenants. One could go on multiplying these things in education and elsewhere. Very often the Government shut their mind to things which cost money because they do not want to know the facts. From time to time, how many hon. Members have been asking Questions to elicit facts of this nature? This afternoon I asked a Question of the Minister of Labour about the number of boys who wanted to become apprentices. The answer was that the Government did not know. The answer was implied that the Government would not take any steps to find out. It is a little odd that the Government should tell local authorities that they must undertake the research.

It boils down to the fact that the Government are prepared to canter forward only at the pace the Chancellor of the Exchequer sets. The Minister of Education is very well satisfied with that pace. When he told us about the 2,400 students who have failed to gain admission to training colleges this autumn, he said that many of them had not the personal qualities to make teachers. One meets the young men and women who have failed to gain admission, and one knows from these contacts that most of them have the characteristics necessary to make good teachers.

The brute fact remains that the Minister's policy on the training of teachers has come too late and is too little. The current generation of children—children born in conditions more difficult than those experienced by any children of any time—continue to be frustrated by Tory policy.

The hon. Member for Abingdon spoke about trained technologists, trained engineers, teachers, physicists, mathematicians, and so on. Over the years every advisory committee dealing with the problem of young men and women has pointed out the deficiencies. For example, in the field of university expansion it is anticipated that 122,000 places will be required in 1962. My guess is—I am in no better position than the Chancellor to state the real position—that there are about 105,000 people at universities this autumn. This means that even to reach the 1962 figure of 122,000 places very great efforts must be made, all the decisions having been already taken. In other words, practically nothing that we do now and nothing we say today will affect the 1962 position.

The 1963 requirement is estimated to be 131,000, the 1964 requirement 140,000, and the 1965 requirement 145,000. From 1962 to 1965, the period which our discussions today might affect, 23,000 new university places have to be produced. Last year 20,000 first degrees were awarded. In other words, the Government have allowed such a situation to creep up on them that we have almost to double the number of new university places in a rush, without devoting adequate thought to it.

It is all very well for the Minister to say that we cannot do everything at once. The University Grants Committee, the Treasury and the Ministry of Education, are not equipped to plan a university development of this size. They have not the staff. The Vice-Chancellors' Committee is no doubt very worried about this. Its members are excessively busy people. They have a host of problems of their own internal administrations to deal with. How can they possibly set about planning the reconstruction of the British university system? It is about time that the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Minister of Education got together. They should have done this long ago, worked out lines of development, and provided the staff and the experts to enable the University Grants Committee to grapple with this problem.

To some extent, the universities rather invite criticism by the leisurely way in which they have been proceeding. I am the last person to criticise university independence in academic fields.

Photo of Sir Kenneth Pickthorn Sir Kenneth Pickthorn , Carlton

I bet the hon. Gentleman is not the last.

Photo of Mr James Boyden Mr James Boyden , Bishop Auckland

The last but one. Universities certainly have a very great responsibility to the public. In these days, 80 per cent. of their revenue comes from the State and 80 per cent. of the students receive State grants. The Ministry of Education and the vice-chancellors of universities must carry the public with them. They must do much more by way of explaining their policies, coming forward with requests to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and, indeed, standing up very vigorously to him. If that policy had been adopted more vigorously we probably should not be in this situation. As we are in it, we must face it and tackle the radical building up of new universities.

The Association of University Teachers, which has prepared a document on this, recommends that five or six new universities should be created as one massive task. The association recommends that, in addition to considerable expansion of existing universities, the whole problem should be planned and carried out as a major operation. There is much to be said in favour of this as a means of coping with the problem.

There has been much discussion about the need to provide residential accommodation in universities, but the stark fact remains that whilst there are more students in colleges and hostels than there were before the war, the proportion remains the same. Rather more than one-quarter are now in colleges and hostels, which is approximately the same percentage as before the war. About one-quarter of the total number of students have moved out of their homes into lodgings. That is hardly a satisfactory way of coping with the residential problem.

I stress as earnestly as I can that there is a need for all persons concerned with higher education immediately to get down to the problem of planning universities and providing them and the University Grants Committee with the staff and the means to do it.

I turn now to further education. I noted particularly the Minister's phrase, "The glory of our British system is to give people a second chance". I have spent the last 15 years or so dealing with the type of student who has had to have a second chance. I can tell the Minister that it is very much better to give the student the chance the first time. It is the exceptional boy or girl, who has the necessary guts and encouragement—it is often a matter of encouragement—who will take the second step having failed the first. Very often in the educational world the person of exceptional talent or resistance will get there. The nation's problem is to encourage the average type of student to get there too. It is only by pulling up the average type of student that we can meet the requirements the nation cries out for.

I could not understand why the Minister was so pleased with the further educaton arrangements. Not long ago the Crowther Committee in paragraph 515 of its Report said that this was an area made dark by unnecessary educational casualties. Whilst the Minister perhaps has a right to be proud of the Northampton College of Advanced Technology, one might mention in the same breath this phrase used by the Crowther Committee in paragraph 527 of its Report: Only one student in 11 succeeds in climbing the National Certificate ladder from bottom to top, and only one in 30 does so in the time for which the course was designed. Those words prove that there is very different and darker sides to the picture.

One of the main reasons for it is the incredible apathy which has existed over the last ten years or so. I acknowledge that the right hon. Gentleman is beginning to make some progress, but he has to face the apathy of the last ten years. He still does not face it with the resolution we demand.

Neither is it enough to say that the talent is not there. There is a reference in the Crowther Report to some intelligence tests which were devised to test the native ability of some students who have, as it were, fallen by the wayside. When verbal intelligence tests were used on a group of typical Lancashire students, it was found that only 8 per cent. of the National Certificate candidates and only 1·5 per cent. of those undergoing craft apprenticeships measured up to anything like university standards, but when the intelligence tests were adapted to become non-verbal 40 per cent. of the National Certificate candidates and 12 per cent. of those undergoing craft apprenticeships showed university standards.

I have a profound belief that far more young people in this country are capable of much more development, and I think that this little piece of research proves it. It is the job of the Minister of Education to do all that he can to get this talent to the surface. My own experience has taught me that, time and time again, a very competent young man or woman of quite exceptional ability does not take the steps required to make educational progress, because of lack of encouragement. I always spent a lot of time as a director of extra-mural studies in getting my staff, both full-time and part-time, to take particular interest in those who were capable of going further, and I always felt that the energy required of the staff for that was well worth while.

I was dealing with relatively small numbers, but I am quite sure that if throughout the educational world there is a real drive such as that, we will get many more thousands of people able to be trained—and, incidentally, some of the thousands of teachers whom the Minister wants. There are within our native resources—many thousands of young men and women who will make teachers, but who have not the orthodox qualifications. In our debate on the Crowther Report I was charged with wanting to dilute the teaching profession. That is not the case at all, but I do want some teachers to be of a different character and quality even though they may not necessarily have the academic qualifications to start with. I am quite sure that, given the right encouragement, they will come forward.

One of the pieces of smugness in the Minister's saying that all things cannot be done at once is that he thereby helps to lose the dynamic in education. He does not realise that if we have a good adult education system and a big drive in further education the whole educational system is toned up to drive forward. I think that for some time Ministers of Education could be criticised in this sense. It is partly in the nature of organisation that things should be dealt with bit by bit but, returning to the question of not being able to go forward, if there were to be an all-out drive in all fields, and if the Treasury would find the money, the teacher training programme and the university programme would be beneficially affected by it.

As to my own sphere, I conclude by quoting from the unanimous declaration made at Montreal by the U.N.E.S.C.O. conference on adult education. Those of us who work in that section of education have, for a long time, felt that we have had a raw deal from the Minister. He has been fussing about fees; distracting attention from the real things by trying to force up students' fees. I should like to take him away from that miserly and not very dignified attitude to the conference at Montreal. I will read two paragraphs from the declaration, and I hope that they will touch his heart. The conference declared: In the field of international understanding, adult education in today's divided world takes on a new importance. Provided that man learns to survive, he has in front of him opportunities for social development and personal well-being such as have never been offered to him before. I remind the House that this declaration was unanimous—Russians, Americans, Britons and all the other delegates. It goes on: We believe that adult education has become of such importance for man's survival and happiness that a new attitude toward it is needed. Nothing less will suffice than that people everywhere should come to accept adult education as a normal—and that Governments should treat it as a necessary—part of the educational provision of every country. I am quite sure that if that belief in the necessity for educational development, which goes far beyond the complacent tone of the Minister, is put into our efforts we will be able to achieve the necessary number of teachers, the necessary number of engineers—even the mathematicians and physicists—and be able to look forward to that affluent society that at present is a mockery for far too many people.

6.5 p.m.

Photo of Mr John Arbuthnot Mr John Arbuthnot , Dover

The hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden) implied that my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education is going at a leisurely pace in the expansion of education and in the provision for the needs of the young and those who are not so young. He has also implied that the nigger in the woodpile, so to speak, is the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and says that it is because we have not sufficient money from the Treasury that we cannot go forward at a faster pace.

I do not believe that that is the true position at all. The real difficulty about going forward faster lies in this fact. If we divide our population into five equal age groups we find that one age group is still being educated and that another has retired. The earning capacity of the country devolves on the remaining three. The amount that we can spend on education and on retirement pensions depends upon what proportion of their income the three age groups in the middle are prepared to set aside for these purposes.

If we were to insist on spending very much larger sums on education and on retirement pensions we would find the age groups in the middle saying, "We are not getting the share of the national cake—which we are earning—that we ought to have. We shall therefore, demand more wages." That would put up our cost of living, and we should find ourselves back in the position from which we started, if not in a worse one. What we have to do, if we are to spend more on education and speed up the pace, is to persuade the age groups in the middle that they should be prepared to set aside a larger sum for such purposes.

I listened with the greatest interest to the right hon. Gentleman the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede). Incidentally, I was interested to learn that he intended to vote for the Opposition Amendment. From his speech, I was a little doubtful which way he did intend to vote. What the right hon. Gentleman said, and I agree with him, was that my right hon. Friend's speech established a new social outlook. It foreshadowed further progress, and was a speech that we shall all read again with much benefit.

My right hon. Friend referred to the way in which he is proposing to set up teacher training colleges in physical proximity to the universities so as to promote a close association between them. Again, I find myself in sympathy with the right hon. Member for South Shields, when he said that there may be a danger of a social divergence between the teacher training college and the university with which it is associated. I sympathise with his view that the teacher training college should be linked more closely than in the purely location sense that my right hon. Friend indicated. I should like to see a closer link-up, through which those at the teacher training college will lead a university life and will emerge with a degree conferred by the university with which their college is associated.

I was particularly impressed by my right hon. Friend's remark that in these teacher training colleges 60 per cent. of the places will be taken by local authorities and 40 per cent. by the churches. That is a most splendid announcement, because I believe that religious education in the State schools is sadly deficient at present—

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

How does the hon. Member know?

Photo of Mr John Arbuthnot Mr John Arbuthnot , Dover

If the hon. Gentleman will listen for a little while I will tell him one or two things—

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

It is a very impertinent remark.

Photo of Mr John Arbuthnot Mr John Arbuthnot , Dover

—and I will develop the thesis.

I am not for a moment blaming those who give the religious instruction, because I believe that they have an impossible task. The religious instruction is not allowed to be denominational, and I believe that we ought to have a much closer association between the State school system and the Churches.

The hon. Gentleman asks me what makes me say that religious education in our State schools leaves much to be desired. I will give him an instance from a prize-giving which I attended recently at a secondary modern school for boys. There was a special prize for English; the name of the boy who had won the prize appeared against it. There were special prizes for French and for mathematics. There was an entry for religious knowledge, but there was a complete blank against that subject. No boy had won that prize. There were prizes for carpentry, metal work and other subjects.

Coming away from the prize-giving with the local rector. I asked him, "Did you notice that there was not a boy's name against the prize for religious knowledge" The rector replied, "Well, I can imagine the purgatory that any small boy would have gone through who had won that prize. It was just as well that it was not awarded". I believe that we do not in our State schools have the link-up with the Churches that we ought, and that much more can be done in this field.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that for a great proportion of our children today there would be no religious instruction at all if it were not for dedicated day school teachers, and that he is insulting an honourable body of people?

Photo of Mr William Yates Mr William Yates , The Wrekin

Withdraw that remark.

Photo of Mr John Arbuthnot Mr John Arbuthnot , Dover

I accept completely the first part of the intervention by the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas). What I was trying to say was that there ought to be a greater impetus given to the work of the dedicated body of people who are trying to give religious education.

Photo of Mr William Yates Mr William Yates , The Wrekin

Now perhaps the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) will withdraw.

Photo of Mr John Arbuthnot Mr John Arbuthnot , Dover

Both he and I are on the same side. We want to see a greater amount of religious education in the State schools.

Photo of Mrs Harriet Slater Mrs Harriet Slater , Stoke-on-Trent North

Does the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot) not realise that almost every local authority has met all the Churches in its area, including the Free Church and the Anglican Church, and agreed syllabuses have been drawn up? Religious education in many of our schools does not take the form merely of the morning assembly; it is a subject which is taught, and taught very well. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) that what the hon. Member for Dover said is an insult to the teachers who are doing an extremely good job not only in religious education, but in civics and in the general social training of our children.

Photo of Mr John Arbuthnot Mr John Arbuthnot , Dover

The hon. Lady has got me completely wrong. She and I are both on the same side of the fence, too. I am not saying anything in the least derogatory of the work being done by what the hon. Gentleman rightly referred to as the dedicated body of teachers, but I believe, none the less, that there is scope for a much greater degree of religious education in our State schools.

I am not unique in this belief by any manner of means. As the House knows, I am not a Roman Catholic, but I think we ought to pay tribute to the Roman Catholics for the sacrifices that they are prepared to make for their religious views. I should like to see that attitude as widespread among other denominations as it is among the Roman Catholics.

Next I want to refer to the statement that my right hon. Friend made about university scholarships. I am delighted to hear that added impetus is to be given to the founders of scholarships who, in the past, have discovered to their dismay that their scholarships were ineffective and of no use to the boys and girls who earned them because they led to a reduction in the State grant.

In the past, there has been a deterrent to the awarding of university scholarships by charities, private foundations and others. But it is not only in the universities that this deterrent to private awards applies.

If one writes to my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, as I have done, he says that the wishes of the parents concerning their children's education will be observed so far as it is possible to do so. But it does not work out like that and there is a danger that parents are losing control of their children's education.

I will illustrate the point by mentioning a recent case. A constituent of mine who, had it not been for his war service, would now probably have been one of the top captains of a leading passenger line, had a gallant war record. He served on a frigate, which was sunk. He was crushed under some steel plating and he was the only person who survived from the bridge. He was never the same man after that occurrence. He came out of the Navy and, instead of finding himself as one of the top captains of this line, in which he would have drawn a salary of at least £3,000 a year, he had to accept a job worth £1,200 a year.

Earlier this year that man died, never having recovered his full health since his war experiences. He left a widow with practically no money of her own and with three children. Two of those children were at a boys' public school and the third was at a girls' equivalent. Naturally, the widow looked round to see where she could raise the money to help her to continue the children's education. She went to a number of charitable foundations, and the first thing that these charitable bodies asked was, "What is the local education authority doing to help? "The answer was that the local education authority was doing nothing about it except for being prepared to offer a place in a grammar school and to pay the public school fees for the term's education on which the children had already embarked. "But," said the Kent County Council, "the amount we are prepared to pay for the last term's education will be reduced by any amount that may be forthcoming from any charitable grant that may be available to you."

That is the attitude adopted by the Kent education authority: it is entirely different from the attitude adopted by several other local authorities to my knowledge, including Huntingdonshire. The headmaster of the public school said, of the elder boy, "This boy has only a year more to do. It would be a mistake to take him away." The same headmaster said of the younger boy, "This boy is extremely bright. It would be a tragedy to interrupt his education now."

It is a great deterrent to charitable trusts and other foundations which are prepared to award scholarships or grants if education authorities can nullify their effect. I do not want uniformity to be enforced as between one county and another, but something should be done to ensure that when a scholarship is given the full amount should be awarded without its being possible for a local education authority to take away the effective help which the donor intended to make available.

By taking away from local authorities the power of nullifying scholarships and grants, we can do much more to encourage the diversification of our education. We are today in danger, however excellent the State education service may be, of allowing parents' wishes to be steamrollered by the juggernaut of the State scheme. We are in danger of allowing children to be pressed into the State's straitjacket which is in three sizes—the grammar school, the technical school and the secondary modern school. We can get away from that and allow greater diversification, and in my view we should.

I want, finally, to refer to a gulf which is appearing between the town dweller and countryman. I am very conscious, seeing a number of town boys and girls who go to camp in country areas, that the town dweller does not even know how the country dweller lives. I often give such children a lift when I am going into Dover. They usually come to camp towards the end of the summer, when the crops are ripening. I am apt to ask them questions about wheat and barley and oats. The majority of them do not have a clue about the difference between wheat, barley and oats. We stop and pick an ear of wheat, an ear of barley, an ear of oats and, at any rate, that helps towards a greater education in country things.

In that respect, I commend that passage in the Gracious Speech which says that the Government will continue to encourage the expansion of the Youth Service … I believe that one of the most valuable educating, agencies which exists today are to be found in the work being done by the Boy Scout and Girl Guide movements. They provide a much wider horizon to all those boys and girls who join them, and deserve all the support we can give them.

6.23 p.m.

Photo of Mr William Hannan Mr William Hannan , Glasgow Maryhill

The hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot) introduced an ingenious argument at the beginning of his speech when he spoke of groups within society which would be warring with one another about how much was to be spent on education. It became obvious that the hon. Member did not understand the circumstances in which many of the people, represented by hon. Members on both sides of the House, have to scrape and work their way through university, making the best of the opportunities afforded to them. Even if the example which the hon. Member quoted, of his constituent who had found herself with an income of £1,200 a year and with three of her family—

Photo of Mr John Arbuthnot Mr John Arbuthnot , Dover

The hon. Member got me wrong. The income of the father before he died was £1,200. He could perfectly well manage on that, but the income of his widow was negligible.

Photo of Mr William Hannan Mr William Hannan , Glasgow Maryhill

I cannot see that it was negligible. It was at least as much as that of many other people who have to live in the same sad circumstances. I presume that the local authority of which he spoke was a Tory local authority, but it seemed to me that in the circumstances, even under the Ministry's own regulations, the hon. Member's constituent was having to do no more than many other people have to do in the same circumstances. What he seemed to be arguing for was the expenditure of more public money and, if that is his argument, we can agree that much more needs to be done for public education.

I hope the House will forgive me for introducing two or three Scottish aspects. I do so not in a narrow nationalist sense, but because this is a United Kingdom debate and because the Secretary of State for Scotland is present. I hope that some of these comments will be of general interest as they apply equally well south of the Border.

For instance, wastage, especially in the universities, has been mentioned. We have had great difficulty about getting information from Ministers of Education on this subject. The Minister is not responsible for the universities, but, strangely enough, in the Report on Measures to Improve the Supply of Teachers in Scotland, Cmnd. 644, some of the figures were tendered to the Secretary of State as evidence of steps which should be taken to produce more teachers and to deal with the wastage of first year students at universities.

This is a problem which has given rise to considerable perturbation. On page 13, the Report shows that in Scotland the percentage wastage of first-year students in universities is as high as 22 in arts and 24 in pure science. In Glasgow University it was 25 per cent. in arts and 29 per cent. in pure science.

One would have thought that those figures would have been high enough to have proved that the universities themselves have been rather lax in these matters and that they should have taken steps to deal with them long ago. What is the Secretary of State doing to rectify the matter and, if the standard of the average student is to be improved and more people are to be encouraged to stay at the university, what is the Secretary of State doing about providing a fifth university in Scotland?

In order to encourage some young people to get over the difficulty of first-year tutelage in universities, the Appleton Committee on the Supply of Teachers of Mathematics and Science in Scotland as long ago as 1955 suggested that something should be done about providing them with tutorial assistance. It is one of the attributes of Oxford and Cambridge universities that, perhaps more than others, they provide such assistance together with residential accommodation, but in Scotland nothing has been done about that very important recommendation.

After all, our young people who go from senior secondary schools in Scotland and from grammar schools in England and Wales to university find themselves in a completely new atmosphere, no longer in intimate touch with their teachers. This is particularly so in Scotland. I understand that students entering university find themselves for the first time in classes which are more like mass meetings. Will it be denied that, in some cases, there are 100 or 200 students at a class and that they receive no more than the skeleton of the lecture and have no personal advice, in many instances? They are left on their own hook, if I may use a colloquialism.

The Secretary of State for Scotland has had plenty of warnings. If the Minister's statement today is to be taken as symptomatic of what the Secretary of State for Scotland will say in reply later, we shall not accept it. The terms of the Amendment seem to be more merited than ever in the light of the Minister's speech today.

The Secretary of State for Scotland had a Report in 1951 on the shortage of teachers. He had a Report in 1953, another Report in March, 1955, another one in June, 1957, and now the present one, on which he has not yet come to any decision in regard to the recruitment of teachers or the suggestions which have been made. He has acted on two of the Reports, but there are others on which he has not yet acted at all. Having regard to the bulge which will come to its peak in two years, we say quite definitely that the seriousness of the situation and the great need to meet the coming emergency has been disregarded.

I come now to the subject of technical education. During the weekend I read in the Glasgow Herald of 5th November a report of what the Minister of State, who is the principal propaganda officer for the present Government in Scotland, had to say. He said that in 1956 the Government had announced a major expansion of technical education. But that was not all. Last year, he said, when the 1956 programme was under way, the Secretary of State announced a second programme for 1961–64 of £6 million. The Government had already approved proposals to spend £151 million, which provided for 19 new local colleges.

That is just a regurgitation of things which have happened in the past five years. What are the facts now? The Glasgow Herald in its leader gave the answer: Unfortunately this steep rise in the provision of such colleges does not necessarily mean that there has been a sudden awakening to the need. It is merely that 1961 is the last year of the Government's £10 million programme launched in 1956, and all the projects are crowding into the tail end. Much of the new building should have been in use now The proof can be found in the Scottish Education Department's own pamphlet, "The Structure of Vocational Further Education", in which in Appendix A are listed several of the projects. Out of 34, only four have been completed and five are now under construction. What about the others? If the Government run into further economic difficulties, shall we have more rises in the Bank Rate, and will local authorities be subjected to indecision and lack of planning and so that even the programme which is to start only in 1960 will be imperilled?

I will give the House the circumstances of the rest of the 34. Ten have plans approved but tenders have not yet been submitted. One has plans approved and the tenders are under consideration. Four have plans under consideration. Seven have accommodation approved but the plans have not yet been submitted. One has plans approved and tenders approved, and two have accommodation proposals under consideration.

The Government's case, of course, is that there have been interminable delays and lack of co-operation on the part of local authorities. This is not true. Glasgow Corporation particularly has been most anxious to go ahead. Will the Secretary of State deny that negotiations for a new college at Kilmarnock have been going on since the days of the Labour Government, and it is to be started only next year? How can that delay of nine years be explained away? After all, it is this Government who have been in power all the time.

My hon. Friend the Member far Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden) was quite right to say that it is now generally accepted that Britain's fate in the future depends upon our attitude to the new scientific and technological age. If what we do is to be worthy of the British people, there must be a greater sense of urgency and a revolution in our approach to these matters. The day when the white collar and black coat were thought to be more respectable than the slide rule and the dungarees has gone. This is accepted. Professor Galbraith summed it up in the cryptic sentence, "Either we learn mathematics and physics—or Russian". That is the issue. If we are really sincere, we must apply ourselves with greater urgency and authority to what we have to do.

The Minister of Education referred today to a new programme for technical education. He said that we needed to have the fairways clear. With that remark I certainly agree. The course for the pupil at grammar school is quite clear right up to university. In Scotland it is quite clear from the primary school and the secondary school right up to university or central institution. It is with the young people in the modern secondary school, the technical school and junior secondary school in Scotland that many of us in the House are primarily concerned. They constitute the 70 to 80 per cent. of the population who, in later life, will be miners, skilled craftsmen, car makers, builders, engineers, engine drivers—the people on whom we depend for success in the export market. Unless we are behind this great army of people—I would call them the forgotten army—in our efforts, we shall fail. It is to these young people that we must address our attention.

There must be a greater provision of facilities at local level. I take the view that the real question is not whether we should compulsorily raise the school-leaving age to 16, but how best can we make education so attractive that boys and girls will remain at school until 16 and will want to do so? They should, out of a satisfaction in their own instruction at school, really desire to apply themselves with zest and zeal to the things which interest them so that they continue to a later age. But this, of course, requires the provision of courses.

Before lauding the Government's suggested programme, I shall await with interest an indication of what will be done in fact. It is one thing to hear Ministers make statements like those we heard this afternoon. It is another to experience the outcome of them in reality. Young people at junior secondary schools learning mathematics and science are inclined to ask themselves what use those subjects have for them. In technical colleges they will be able better to associate such subjects with the realities of life. The Crowther Report itself says that we should raise the school leaving age to 16; but, as I say, I doubt that that is the real question. We must break the barrier between the senior secondary schools and the junior secondary schools.

Even at the age of 13 or 14 our young people, without impinging on the normal educational facilities, should have the right to be taken outside school to see what the workaday world is like and in that way have their interest aroused.

There is tremendous wastage even in evening classes. There is wastage in our day release classes. This proves that there is need for these radical improvements. If wastage is defined as failure to gain a certain certificate and a recognised qualification 70 per cent. of our young people in evening classes fail in their third year and 90 per cent. fail in their fifth year to gain their City and Guilds certificates. The Crowther Report, dealing with this very aspect against the background of the nation's need of trained manpower, says that these wastage rates are shocking.

There is wastage also in the evening class system. It is true that the day-release system has better results, but even those who are in favour of that system have to give way to the block release in which for six, eight or ten weeks the young people are released. In an east of Scotland technical college, for example, 18 per cent. of the students gained the ordinary certificate by evening class studies but 33 per cent. gained the same certificate on day release. The comparable figures of the Crowther Report are 19 per cent. for evening classes and 29 per cent. on day release.

Earlier today, one hon. Member mentioned that not sufficient young people were being allowed off on day release. If the situation is bad in England and Wales, it is certainly much worse in Scotland. Let me quote some comparisons. In the chemical and allied industries, for example, whereas England and Wales 60·5 per cent. of the young people engaged in these industries are allowed off on day release, the figure in Scotland is only 9 per cent. In the engineering and electrical goods industries, the figures are 61·3 per cent. in England and Wales and 47 per cent. in Scotland; in construction, in England and Wales 47·6 per cent. and in Scotland only 22 per cent. In shipbuilding and marine engineering, which are basic industries to Scotland, the Scottish figure is 19 per cent. but in England and Wales it is 41·3 per cent. These comparisons are shocking. They show the great need that exists and the responsibility that rests with the Secretary of State.

It is not sufficient to say that this is a matter for industry only. Today, the Minister of Education has half admitted, at least, that the Government are considering a change in this aspect. He said that the Carr Report has been debated and that while the Carr Committee came to the conclusion that it was still a matter for industry, the Government have been inclined to have second thoughts. I hope that they have had them and I hope that they will now plan and take the initiative in this matter in order to help.

It is not sufficient for the Government to say that they are spending so much money now compared with what they were spending a few years ago or to say what they are spending in comparison with the days of the Labour Government. That argument is as dead as the dodo. [Interruption.] If hon. Members provoke me, I should like to take them through the figures, but whether they are figures based on U.N.E.S.C.O., whether the comparison is made with Russia or even with the time that the Crowther Report was prepared, it will be shown that we are spending less per head of the population on education than some other countries. This argument is the main one and I am glad that my hon. Friends have put down the Amendment, which I have the greatest pleasure in supporting.

6.45 p.m.

Photo of Miss Betty Harvie Anderson Miss Betty Harvie Anderson , Renfrewshire East

In the short time which is available to me, I do not propose to follow the hon. Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) in detail. Since, however, he has quoted the White Paper of which I am part-author, I am glad to happen to have in my hand the more recent figures for teacher training in Scotland. It is a subject in which the Government can be congratulated when we realise that there are now in training in Scotland 4,900 students, a figure which is 30 per cent. higher than in 1957.

I welcome the opportunity of taking part in this debate, because it is particularly appropriate that in this, the quarter-centenary of the Reformation, John Knox's ideal of an educational highway leading from the primary school to the university along which any child of ability can travel, irrespective of its parents' economic circumstances, has almost been realised. I emphasise "almost" No one should enter this House with undue optimism of moving mountains, but four centuries is a long time.

Today, I should like to say four things. First, I agree with the right hon. Membere for South Shields (Mr. Ede) in wholehearted support for the main recommendation of the Anderson Committee that university education should be free for all those with ability to benefit. This is clearly the enactment at last of the principle announced four centuries ago and I recognise the logic today of including all full-time further education for a first degree or diploma, which, as my right hon. Friend the Minister has said, I believe it is possible to define.

I take that view because we do not know how many children are prevented from attending university by the parental means test in its present form. Such evidence as there is suggests that some sections of the community are certainly handicapped, including the larger families of professors, to which the hon. Lady the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) referred earlier, school teachers and other professional people. Thus, it appears that some able pupils are left out. This is something that the nation cannot afford.

Moreover, believing that men and women are roughly of equal average intelligence, and before this House I will not venture to put it higher, it is an interesting fact that the university population today comprises 75 per cent. male students and 25 per cent. female. I believe that this ratio is as connected with the economic consideration as with the early marriage age. While 6 per cent. is the accepted figure of school leavers who at present have the necessary qualifications for full-time further education, it is generally accepted that 11 per cent. of all school leavers could reach this level. This is something which we all want to happen.

That raises the question of university places, to which reference has already been made. Earlier this afternoon the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland (Mr. Boyden) spoke on this point. I should like to refer to his Question of 25th October, when he asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many applicants possessing the necessary qualifications for admission to a British university have not been accepted for a university place this autumn. The reply from the Chancellor of the Exchequer was: This information is not available".[OFFICIAL REPORT, 25th October, 1960; Vol. 627, c. 2126.] In view of the serious nature of the problem, the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland asked that that information should be obtained and the situation kept under review. I would hope that this would be done, because I think that this is a view which deserves the support of the whole House. It is already well known that the system as it stands at present requires a multiplicity of applications from one student to several universities, and this makes it well-nigh impossible to discover the answer to the question which the hon. Member asked.

Lack of information on this point seems almost as surprising as another aspect which has not been referred to today, but was referred to some few years ago—I think, in a Question in this House—when figures were revealed at that date, I think 1955, showing that 2,500 places in British universities were at that moment vacant. I do not know what the most recent figure available about this is, but I think that it is one which, in this debate, is relevant and would be of interest to many of us.

As we know, in 1938 there was a university population of approximately 50,000—that is, of full-time students. We also know that today there is a university population of full-time students of approximately 100,000. By 1970, we are told by the University Grants Committee, that there will be 25 per cent. more university places and twice as many 17-year-olds. We have already heard and discussed today the possibility of having to provide from 170,000 to 175,000 university places, which would assume that all those with the ability to acquire entrance standards would be accepted. This picture, to me at any rate, raises considerable doubts. For a moment or two I should like to put forward one or two.

Does this figure, this huge figure of 170,000 and upwards, match the additional ability available? Is there a danger of dilution in the assumption that there shall be a greatly increased university education in this way? Where will the lowering of standards come? Will the intellectual freedom of the universities be assured? In fact, to what extent is it proposed to expand the existing institutions?

There are, we all know, 21 universities and colleges under the University Grants Committee at present, and this surely raises the question of whether these are being profitably used. To consider that I should like to turn for my third point, which has already been mentioned by the hon. Member for Maryhill, namely, the question of wastage.

I want to refer to this in relation to full-time education only, but I should like to point out that very little research has been done on this subject, yet I believe it to be doubly important since many failures are extremely difficult to fit in to non-graduate employment. I hesitate to use the phrase here, but over the years in Scotland we have referred to these students for some reason or another as "stickit Meenisters". It is not, perhaps, a very happy phrase to use in this House, and my consolation is that there are not here many Scots who recognise its significance. I think that the failure rate must, therefore, be judged by those who got stuck half-way through their career and have to be re-established in less lucrative and less attractive positions, as well as by wastage of actual university places.

The research which has been carried out at Liverpool by Sir James Mount-ford; at University College, London, by Dr. Malleson and by the University Grants Committee itself reveals an agreed overall wastage of about 17 per cent. Dr. Douglas MacIntosh, with whom I had the honour to work, has made a very detailed analysis in Fife of those students, holding bursaries, and one of the interesting things there is that the failure rate of over 16 per cent., which is similar to that shown by the other researches, is after the resit in September of the June examinations, but that would suggest a much more serious difficulty as a result of the June examinations. I think that anybody interested in education at all is aware of the difficulties imposed by this resit, and also of the damaging effect it has on a first-year student.

I have no desire today to go into detail which I think is very relevant to the discussion, as revealed very strongly in a 38 per cent. failure rate in science faculty as compared with a 10 per cent. failure rate in the arts faculty. This has been referred to casually by one or two others, but it is obviously a matter which should be of primary concern. This failure rate represents a waste of public money which, overall, amounts to a considerable sum and it is a matter on which I hope my right hon. Friends on the Front Bench will consider, and that education authorities would welcome a full-scale inquiry, because although I think that the universities obviously have their individual records, these have long been regarded as confidential, and I think that, perhaps, we are agreed that this, in the main, is rightly so.

This brings me to my last point, which is value for money. Increased expenditure on education will be universally welcomed, but it will be welcomed only if the money is well spent. Of the anticipated increase in the number of students, how many should receive this training in universities, bearing in mind—and I am surprised, if I may say so, that no mention has been made of this during the debate so far—that the universities have a major commitment in research? If we are to maintain and enable them to maintain their position as leaders in the pursuit of knowledge and in research, then we must safeguard them against over-expansion. Should, therefore the three colleges included for the University Grants Committee grants at present receive university status? In Scotland, the Royal College of Science and Technology is most highly regarded and there is a strong case for its recognition. To what extent should technical colleges be developed?

My hon. Friend the Member for Abingdon (Mr. Neave) referred to the apprentice training scheme. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility to link up a national apprenticeship training scheme with a technical college In other words, I want to see the ladder everywhere, and I think that if we apply the recommendations of the Carr Report and try to develop a national apprentice training scheme we can provide the means of linking them.

I have expressed doubts as to the wisdom of greatly increasing the size of universities. I am concerned, as other hon. Members have shown themselves to be, that there has not been a greater growth in residential accommodation made available in recent years. I believe that this will shelter the student from the stress of travelling, which has often been forgotten or underestimated. Undoubtedly, it would provide a better environment and, most important of all, it would provide opportunity for the interchange of ideas and ideals which are well-nigh denied to the travelling student at present.

Assuming for the moment that three new universities are desirable and necessary—and there are recommendations as reported by the University Grants Committee for new institutions at Norwich and York. I should like to see a recommendation for a University of Inverness. I hope that my right hon. Friend will give great thought to this possibility. I am aware that universities cost money, but I make this suggestion after a good deal of consideration and not as a bright idea which has struck me a few hours before this debate.

I have felt for a long time that one of the remarkable features in the present-day life of our Scottish universities is the keen competition from students south of the Border to come into them, but there is no doubt that the atmosphere provided by our four Scottish universities, with their long and ancient traditions, has been something which is not offered readily elsewhere other than in Oxford or Cambridge.

It has long been accepted in Scotland and in Great Britain generally that these ancient seats of learning were established and recognised as necessary many centuries before other parts of Great Britain recognised the necessity for this form of education. It is because we have been conscious in the debate today that we are in a century of ever-widening educational opportunity that I think it is appropriate that on both sides of the House we might seriously consider the establishment of new universities, and I hope that we shall include as the fifth in Scotland a University of Inverness.

7.2 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

The hon. Lady the Member for Renfrew, East (Miss Harvie Anderson) never addresses the House without giving us something worth hearing. I am deeply grateful for the contribution that she has made, although we are debating a Motion of censure and we shall be voting against the Department and the Government tonight.

I warmly agree with the hon. Lady's proposal that there should be another university to educate the Scots. I thought that, if anything, the hon. Lady over-gilded the lily when she claimed that the Scots were so far in advance of the people of the rest of these islands in education after my hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) had given those dire, striking and terrifying figures of failure in the first year—though no doubt similar figures could be produced from other parts of the country.

The Minister covered a very wide area in his speech. I was hoping that, in view of his major headache in seeking to recruit a sufficient number of teachers in the 1960s, the right hon. Gentleman would have paid tribute to the teaching profession and would have said that he not only invites its co-operation, but that he has had it in a striking manner. The recent conference on culture and mass media which was organised by the National Union of Teachers has been just one of many ways in which the teaching profession itself has been labouring to make the nation education conscious. Unless we can get the general public keen about and conscious of the need to improve and expand the education services the Minister cannot hope to solve the problems to which he has referred.

Before I go on to express views of my own, I should like to refer to what has been said by the hon. Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot) about the inadequate amount of religious instruction in our day schools. I do not want to do the hon. Member a disservice, although I am always quick to defend my colleagues who still labour in the schools. I believe that we would deteriorate within a decade into a nation of near-barbarians were it not for our day schools. I believe that the House cannot measure the debt that it owes to our teachers. That is why I am sensitive when I hear these criticisms that not enough is being done in cur day schools when, in fact, we ought to be almost fulsome in our gratitude for and appreciation of what has been done.

Since 1945 we have been engaged in the House in a battle of priorities in education. Even as we enter into the prosperous 1960s, in a period of expansion, priorities, quite clearly, are still of the first importance. What is our overall aim during the next decade and a half, which is as far ahead as we can reasonably see and estimate? I believe that it is to increase the number of qualified young people without reducing the quality. We want a two-dimensional expansion of the education service—an expansion in quality and an expansion in quantity.

First, I would refer to quality. I believe that there are certain facts given in the various Reports which ought to be disturbing us all. Mediocrity is still able to buy its opportunities within our education service. To get to Oxford or Cambridge it is still a tremendous advantage if a student has been to a public school first. The figures speak for themselves. At Cambridge, 55 per cent. of all students admitted in 1955 came from the Headmasters' Conference independent schools, another 10 per cent. came from the direct grant schools, and 25 per cent. came from grammar schools. These are the latest figures in Principal Brinley Thomas's minority Report to the Anderson Report.

This is by no means a reflection of the fact that there is greater talent in the public schools. I do not believe that the greater gifts are the perquisite of those privileged individuals who enjoy a public school education. I have had the opportunity during the past few weeks to visit several Methodic public schools. They are all of a very high and worth-while quality and the people who get their boys and girls into them are fortunate, but I seek only to point out to the House that privilege is still available to the wealthy.

This problem reveals the fact that the length of school life for the great majority of our young people is inadequate. One out of every three of the 17-year-olds in our schools today is in a public school, and the public schools have one-quarter, or one out of every four among those who are recruited for places in the universities. Does anyone in the House believe that merit alone justifies these figures? At Cambridge, where 55 per cent. of the admissions came from independent schools, only 10 per cent. of those admissions took a first, whilst of those admitted from grammar schools 18 per cent. took a first.

We ought to be looking very seriously at the fact that so great a proportion of our 17-year-olds are leaving school and not even thinking of taking their places in the universities, and that 92 out of 100 of our 18-year-olds abandon full-time further education. Of the young people, the teen-agers, 87 out of a 100 abandon the idea when they are 17 years of age. I believe that these are striking figures. They show that there is disturbing evidence that all is not well with the educational world, though we might well have gathered otherwise from the languid air of the Minister as he moved from one subject to another this afternoon.

Recruitment for our universities and training colleges ought surely to be from the best talents available in the nation. It ought to be the basis on which we shall build in the 1960s. Mr. R. K. Kelsall, who was commissioned by the Committee of Vice-Chancellors and Principals in 1957 to report on education at the universities, pointed out that only 66 per cent. of the top intelligence group admitted to our maintained grammar schools are the sons and daughters of manual workers. As we reach the end of the maintained grammar school period, only 47 per cent. of them are still there, and when it comes to the universities only 26 per cent. of them find their places in a university.

I do not suppose that anybody, not even the most reactionary Member in the House, will suggest that intelligence is lower in the children of manual workers than it is in those of the professional classes. We know that talent is being lost, and we ought to address ourselves to the question of why it is being lost and what we can do to put this matter right.

In the Crowther Report, we were reminded, on page 8 and in Table 2, that the age of youngsters leaving school varies according to income of the family. In the case of the professional classes, 34 per cent. are still there at 18 years of age, among children of the clerical and non-manual workers 10 per cent. are still there, and the figures for other classes are: skilled workers 4 per cent., semi-skilled 2 per cent., and unskilled 1 per cent. Nine times out of ten, the unskilled are also the lower-wage earners. We cannot talk about full opportunity in our universities and colleges if we are not making it possible for more youngsters to stay at the secondary grammar schools until they are 17 and 18, which means that the question of maintenance allowances in the secondary grammar schools is of higher importance than removing the means test from those going to the colleges or universities.

Whose problem will be solved when we abolish the means test? I am all in favour of making its abolition our ultimate aim, but it is the better-off people who will be relieved. Everybody on the other side of the House knows that. Who are the people who would benefit if we dealt first of all with adequate maintenance allowances in the secondary grammar schools? We should, at one blow, enable a vast army of young people with gifts and talents to stay in school longer and qualify for the universities.

It is quite true that inequality of opportunity still decides who gets into the colleges, and, in particular, into Oxford and Cambridge, which, with the University of London, take more than 50 per cent. of all the university students in Scotland, England, Wales and Ireland. We fool ourselves if we pretend that we have reached a happy millenium when there is a broad highway for the children of workers from the infants' school right through to the university. I am sorry to disappoint the hon. Member the Lady for Renfrew, East, but John Knox and she will have to wait a little longer.

Quite clearly, there is a vast army of youngsters who are leaving our secondary modern schools because of economic pressure. Affluent society or not, there are still working families who take away gifted youngsters who ought to be kept at school with the help of the Ministry—help which they would have in other places. I say that the Minister should give priority to increased maintenance allowances for sixth-formers in our secondary modern schools before tackling this problem of the means test, for it is the wealthier people who are affected when their sons and daughters gain scholarships and are unable to benefit by them.

If it is a battle between the one and the other, I know on which side I should come down, but I do not think that it is a battle. I like to think that education in these islands shall be free, and that the taxpayer will take the responsibility of giving to everyone a full opportunity, but we all know that with the present dichotomy in our education service, and with a private, privileged sector, there cannot be, this equality, unless the Government are prepared to alter their attitude on this fundamental question.

It is significant that one out of every four boys who last year obtained an A-level certificate did not go to a university, nor to a training college, nor to any other form of full-time education. There is a leakage here that should be stopped, and the Minister ought to look for the reason. To be in the field of competition for public awards for university scholarships, bursarships and open awards, young people need to stay in school until they are 17 or 18. Last year, the proportion of 17-year-old students still at school in grant-aided and recognised schools was 11·4 per cent., an increase since 1956 of 2 per cent. There is something wrong with our priorities, or this figure would be substantially altered.

Before I turn to the subject of the recruitment of teachers, I want to make one other point on the subject of secondary grammar school students having full equality of opportunity with those at the public schools. I do not suppose that there is any hon. Member in the House who would say openly that the facilities of the secondary grammar schools should be less than those of a public school. After all, the national asset is our young people, never mind the type of school from which they come. I do not want to close the public schools. They have got something obviously good, and if I had a son—well, I have not got a son, and there we are.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I see that the hon. Member is not in need of any education.

I want to draw the Minister's attention to the fact that the Report issued by the Association of Teachers in Science, in 1959, pointed out that the percentage of schools in which accommodation for science teaching is adequate is: local education authorities, 45 per cent.; direct grant, 84 per cent. and independent schools—the public schools, which hon. Gentlemen opposite know so well, and also one or two of my right hon. and hon. Friends—84 per cent. I am only too pleased about these figures, but we have a long way to go to bring our secondary grammar schools up to the standards of those schools. To talk about equality of opportunity while people are able to buy their way into the private sector and thus get into Cambridge or Oxford over the heads of the children of railway workers, miners or farm workers, is objectionable.

My right hon. Friend the Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) uttered a warning note to the Minister about State scholarships, which have been marking time at 1,850 since 1952. We shall want to know from the Minister what he proposes to do to increase the opportunities for teen-agers who would benefit by education in universities and colleges.

I now turn to the recruitment of teachers and the question of the training colleges. I was fortunate that I had my training as a teacher at Southampton University College. It is now a full university. This meant that I was freed from the niggardly, narrow discipline which prevailed in so many training colleges before the war. I hope that with the advent of the three-year period of training there will be a new attitude altogether to the dignity and the status of teachers in their training. It is no good trying to treat them as children when they have to be adults leading young people into a fuller life in the community. I hope that the training colleges will be linked more and more closely with the universities. I know that that is the Minister's aim. He said so today, and he has said so previously, and I entirely agree with that aim.

But the recruitment of teachers is more than an academic problem. The Minister will have to bear in mind that, although we want the right type of person to be recruited—people with a sense of vocation who know that to handle other people's children is a great privilege and responsibility—although we want to draw into the ranks of the teaching profession those who will never let these high standards down, we have none the less to bear in mind that, if we are to recruit, the profession must be made to look more attractive.

The Minister knows that there are two questions about which the teaching profession today is unhappy and, indeed, is deeply stirred—at least, in England and Wales. I am not sure what the arrangements are in Scotland. One relates to widows' and orphans' pensions—the fact that if a teacher of 50 years of age is stricken down and dies there is nothing at all for his widow and children. The fact that there is nothing for teachers comparable with what the police, civil servants, or workers in the nationalised industries are entitled to is a standing disgrace to the country.

It is high time the Minister showed some initiative in getting local authorities, who appear to be more forthcoming than he is, to agree to talks on a scheme to give social security to the teaching profession, for professional status surely involves social security for the dependants of those who fall by the wayside.

Teachers are citizens and we deny ourselves a great deal by not allowing them to play their full part in local government. To handicap a community by stopping keen, progressive school masters and school mistresses from sharing in this part of our democratic life is a foolish, shortsighted policy to pursue. The Minister could introduce the necessary legislation to put this right.

We look to the 1960s with hope. We all have our own ideals for Britain, which means much to all of us, on whichever side of the House we sit. However, I am convinced that all that the Minister has said this afternoon will remain idle words unless he can infuse into the education service a greater sense of equality of opportunity for the 17-year-olds from the cottage and the farm as for those who come from the more cushioned sectors of our society.

7.27 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , North Cornwall

I welcome the opportunity to take part in this extremely important debate. I am particularly glad to have the opportunity to follow the hon. Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas). I am sorry in a way that he has gone to such an extent to attack what one might call the public school entry into the university. During his speech he was completely obsessed by Oxford and Cambridge, so much so that we did not hear a word about the University of Wales, a very fine institution, as I know from the time when I was working in Wales. There one gets just as much opportunity as one does at Oxford or Cambridge.

I, too, want to see—I am sure we all do—equality of opportunity for everybody, no matter from what home they come. I want to see all able to go through the primary and secondary schools to the university if their talent shows that they can cope with what they will have to learn and do when they get there. However it is quite untrue to imply that boys and girls going to Oxford and Cambridge go there without taking an entrance examination. The scholarships are completely open to all to take, and there is no bias on one side or the other. No one enters the university without taking an examination.

I agree with the hon. Member for Cardiff, West that at the moment the figures are weighted towards the public schools. The reason obviously is that one stays at the public schools longer; the opportunity is there at the moment. But the hon. Gentleman must know, as we all do, that what we are trying to do is to increase the educational standards and opportunities in all our schools. If we are to change priorities now, not only shall we—as the hon. Gentleman would advocate—have to give more grant maintenance but we shall also have to increase the number of teachers in order to cope with the extra children for the extra time. Obviously, we cannot do that at the moment because there just are not enough teachers available.

My right hon. Friend has put in train in this last year the most enormously expanded teacher-training programme. As he showed today, in time that will bear the results which the hon. Member wants. It will take time for these trainees to come through and be able to take their places as teachers in secondary schools.

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

The hon. Gentleman said that public schoolboys and State grammar school boys compete on equal terms for open scholarships to Oxford and Cambridge. How does he deal with the simple fact that every public school has closed colleges for which only boys from that school can sit and for which the whole of the State grammar school population is debarred from sitting?

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , North Cornwall

As the hon. Gentleman said, I was talking of open scholarships. I agree that I did not mention closed scholarships. They go back several hundreds of years, as he knows. I do not see anything wrong in that. They exist and there is a form of entry to them if the necessary standard of scholarship is attained. The amount of State scholarships has increased hugely in recent year and they are open to all, no matter where the entrants come from.

Photo of Mr William Yates Mr William Yates , The Wrekin

The hon. Member for Southampton. Itchen (Dr. King) said that pupils from grammar schools were de-barred from sitting. How does he account for the closed scholarship between Appleby Grammar School and Queen's College, Oxford?

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , North Cornwall

I am sure that if my hon. Friend catches your eye, Mr. Speaker, he will be able to clear up that point. No matter on which side of die House we sit, even if afflicted with a certain amount of prejudice—as I think the hon. Member for Cardiff, West was during part of his speech—we are most certainly very anxious that all children, no matter where they come from, should have the very best of opportunities.

Photo of Mr George Thomas Mr George Thomas , Cardiff West

I was making a case for getting the same length of school life for the mass of working children as for those Who go to public schools. That was the burden of my case.

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , North Cornwall

I understood the hon. Gentleman's case clearly. In my view, as soon as we can get the additional teachers through the training colleges—and that is my right hon. Friend's aim—and have, in time, brought classes down to a reasonable size, I am quite certain we shall attack the length of time that boys and girls can stay in school if they so desire and have the ability. Let us not be misled—they must have the ability and the wish to stay on, otherwise it is a complete waste of time for both child and teacher.

I agree with the closing remarks of the hon. Member for Cardiff, West, that we all want to see the very best. In recent years, particularly in the last year, a tremendous advance has been made. I do not want to weary the House by quoting figures of the amount of school places built, but it has been particularly striking in the industrial areas, in our cities and in our urban areas. There has been, in those areas, a tremendous amount of progress not only in primary but in secondary education, where the bulge has been coped with in primary education and has gone on to the secondary school stage.

The problem has also been coped with in further education—or industrial education, if one prefers that name. It is progressing satisfactorily. I was attracted by the idea put forward by my right hon. Friend in saying that apprentices should have the right to go to day school if they so wished. It is a very sound idea, but once again I hope that it will be extended not only to children in industrial areas but also to those in the rural areas.

Although progress has been very considerable in built-up areas, it has not been so good and has been weighted against us in the rural areas to a certain extent. We are not exactly playing Cinderella, but our clothes have been a bit tatty in comparison with our more beauteous sisters in the cities. In my own county of Cornwall, which I know better than elsewhere, and which serves well as an example of a rural area, we have all the problems with which we are all familiar—under-employment and youths going away when well educated. We have a particular problem there, because apart from two spurts in education—in 1870 and 1901, when the education committee at that time took a tremendous leap forward and built many schools—there was not very much advance between 1901 and 1945.

Then, when the 1944 Act began to come into effect, in Cornwall we did not start to gear up to the new tempo as quickly as some of us wished. Our first post-war primary school was built in 1950, and the first secondary school in 1954. That was not a staggering leap forward in the early days of the Act. It may have been that there was a different kind of Government then which was not encouraging the expansion of the schools programme between 1945 and 1950. Be that as it may, there was not much doing at that time.

Thus, in Cornwall, we got caught up in the bulge and have had to build very quickly—as rapidly as my right hon. Friend and his predecessors would allow—in order to provide enough school places for all the children who were to go through. It has been done. By the time the 1960–61 programme is finished we shall have been able to cope with all that.

Photo of Mr Frank Hayman Mr Frank Hayman , Falmouth and Camborne

The big burst of school building was for grammar schools from 1907 to 1914, but the new secondary modern school in Stratton was built and opened in 1938. The county had a building programme which was interrupted by the outbreak of war.

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , North Cornwall

I thank the hon. Gentleman for that intervention. I know that he is an expert in this, particularly in Cornwall. What he says is true, but the building was spasmodic. I think that he would agree that it was not exactly dynamic.

Photo of Mr Frank Hayman Mr Frank Hayman , Falmouth and Camborne

I quite agree. I thought that we should get the facts straight, however.

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , North Cornwall

Nevertheless, we do have these problems in the rural areas. The other problem, particularly in primary education, is that we have many one-teacher schools. I have talked on this point before in the House, but it is one which still exists. One teacher copes with a class all day long, and that is asking a lot of any person. No matter how devoted that person may be, it wears the nerves, but they all do it extremely well. Indeed, my own young son was at one of these schools a year ago and received a first-class education while there, to the great credit of the teacher. Boys and girls of that age are little fiends. They try the temper of a saint.

Perhaps one of the solutions would be more part-time teachers. My right hon. Friend said how difficult it was to get the register and to cope with this problem and to get the system working properly. I see the point, but it is the only solution. Perhaps we could find retired teachers or teachers who have married and would be prepared to come forward.

I know, indeed, that they are prepared to come forward, but always the difficulty in the country is the transport needed to bring them from their homes to the schools. It just cannot be found. They have not cars, and public service transport is not, unfortunately, up to the standard required for getting somebody to a place in time for 9 o'clock in the morning. I would ask my right hon. Friend to re-examine this aspect of the problem, to see whether some method cannot be devised to help local education authorities to persuade retired part-time teachers to travel from their homes to the places where they are needed within the authority's area. At present they are not in a position to do so.

Cornwall had another problem in primary education. We had many all-age schools, where children stayed on up to the age of 15. That was not good. It was extremely bad for the children, and difficult for the teachers. We had about 200 such schools after the war. At the beginning of this year we still had 30 left, but I am delighted to say that at the end of this year's building programme there will be none left in Cornwall. That is a remarkable achievement for a small county, and it is due largely to the drive of my right hon. Friend, who has helped us so much, and the drive of the local education committee.

Photo of Mr Frank Hayman Mr Frank Hayman , Falmouth and Camborne

Would not the hon. Member agree that although all the all-age schools will be eliminated in a year or two, many of the secondary school buildings to which our children have to go are most inadequate?

Photo of Mr James Scott-Hopkins Mr James Scott-Hopkins , North Cornwall

If the hon. Member had not been quite so impatient he would realise that I was coming to that point. This problem has been tackled by building new grammar or secondary modern schools, thereby taking off the top of the all-age school population and putting it into its right and proper place. A great many such schools have been built, but not enough. Indeed, there are in Cornwall more secondary modern and grammar schools which need complete rebuilding than in almost any other county.

The reason is a simple one; it is because local education authorities have been concentrating on building new secondary schools in order to reduce the number of children in the all-age schools. No old buildings have been replaced, with the result that buildings built as long ago as 1901, and even 1887, are still being used, although they are in a dreadful state. A school in my constituency, not far from Launceston, consists of a camp. If I were a serving officer I would not put my company of troops in such a camp, but the children are there. It is waterproof and warm—on occasions—and the children seem to learn there and do quite well. Nevertheless, it does not represent the kind of standard that I want to see, not only in my county but throughout England.

This is one of the things from which the rural areas have suffered. They have had to cope with an exceptional problem, and have not been able to carry out replacements. The hon. Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Hayman) knows about this. A few days ago he asked my right hon. Friend a Question about the rebuilding of a secondary school in his constituency. He also asked a Question about the savage cut which my right hon. Friend has seen fit to make in the major building programme for 1962–63. It has been a very savage cut—from £750,000 to £125,000.

I have mentioned the amount of work that still remains to be done in Cornwall in regard to secondary schools. Over 36 have to be replaced. It is no good saying that they can be dealt with under the minor works programme, as I believe my right hon. Friend's Ministry has suggested. If the minor works programme is used to deal with these old secondary schools it will mean patching—using a few thousand here and a few thousand there—and then, before we know it, those schools will have to be pulled down and replaced by new ones, and all the money spent in the past five years or so will have been completely wasted. It would be better to face the fact that the replacement of these out-of-date and outmoded secondary schools must be undertaken, and to get on with the job of rebuilding them, providing the necessary finance by way of the building programme.

In a rural area like mine there is also an under-employment problem. Many people are employed on casual labour in the building trade, where they are liable to unemployment. One thing that rural areas require is stability of the labour force. Workmen want to know that the work will be there from week to week, and month to month. One of the biggest employers of labour, especially in Cornwall but also in other rural areas, should be the local education authority building new schools, not directly but through contractors. But a contractor cannot keep men when he does not know from year to year or even from week to week what kind of building programme will be allowed from the Ministry in London.

The planning staffs in the local education authorities have to cope with an equally difficult situation. They have to plan from year to year what major works they should carry out. They then put in their applications, and the amounts they have asked for are slashed, and sometimes cut out completely. This makes things very difficult. Cornwall has not yet been told what its minor works programme for 1961–62 will be. It is very difficult to plan ahead and to make arrangements to cater for future labour requirements. It is important to have some kind of stability. We want our young people to stay on and have the best possible educational opportunity. I know as well as anybody else that I am asking for more money, although at the moment the money may not be there.

Earlier on my hon. Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Arbuthnot) said that it was all a question of priorities, as did the hon. Member for Cardiff, West. I agree. That is the sole question. We have to know whether the nation is prepared to spend the necessary amount of money on education and whether, in his turn, my right hon. Friend is prepared to see that one part of the community does not suffer more than the rest. He must see that the rural areas get a fair crack of the whip. They should be given a sum proportionate to their needs, which I can assure my right hon. Friend are far greater than the needs of the towns, at the moment.

The same consideration applies to further education. We must have some idea what is to happen in further education and technology in the rural areas. Many hon. Members have pointed out that the great problem is the necessity to travel from where a person lives to the place where he attends night or day classes. People often have to take lodgings, if they can find accommodation. The further education programme for Cornwall has once again been cut by my right hon. Friend. I would ask him to reconsider his decision. The local education authority asked for two extensions to its technical institutions in Falmouth and Redruth, but both applications have been refused. That is a pity. Pupils at grammar and secondary modern schools are finding their outlet impeded because Camborne Technical College is overcrowded. They therefore leave the county, and do not return.

Mine is a rural constituency, in a rural part of the world, and it depends a great deal on agriculture. Some of its secondary schools are running agricultural rural sciences courses for sixth-formers. At the moment there is no end-product; there is nowhere pupils can go when they finish their secondary school courses. One of the greatest needs of the West Country, and especially Cornwall, is a farm institute, where all the work done in the six forms of the grammar schools and the top forms of the secondary schools can be continued, but here we run into a most awkward problem. It is difficult to ask a man who is farming a small farm, probably with only his son to help him, to allow his son to go to school in the evenings, or on day release, or to take a course at the farm institute, when the farmer is not physically able to carry on the work on his own, and in any case does not want to.

I would ask my right hon. Friend to look into this problem of a rural area where there are small farms and where there is a crying need for a farm institute. We must have something of this kind for our young people. I am certain that some method can be found—some form of grant or transport—and I ask my right hon. Friend to set up a Departmental inquiry to see if he cannot find a solution, because I am sure this is a matter which affects not only Cornwall but other rural areas.

I am quite content with what has been done in education, particularly in the past year, but there is a great deal more to be done and I am confident that under my right hon. Friend's direction we shall go forward, so long as he remembers some of the things that I have said. If he does that we in the West Country might be in a position to get the best of two worlds.

7.51 p.m.

Photo of Mr George Thomson Mr George Thomson , Dundee East

I am sure that the hon. Member for Cornwall, North (Mr. Scott-Hopkins) will excuse me if I do not follow him into the dark recesses of some of the all-age schools in Cornwall. I content myself with congratulating him on lending his support to the campaign which my hon. Friend the Member for Falmouth and Camborne (Mr. Hayman) has been running to improve educational conditions in that part of the country, against some reluctance on the part of the Minister of Education.

I should like to take up the hon. Member's commendation of the Minister's proposal that the problem of further education should be met by giving young people the right to claim day release from their employers. I hope that the Government will not go much further with this suggestion. It seems to me to be both a silly suggestion and a cowardly one. It is silly to put it forward now, because it was a suggestion that the Crowther Committee went into most sympathetically. The Minister will find its consideration on page 182 of the Report, and it came down very decisively against it. It is a cowardly decision because it is the State that should accept this responsibility and not ask the teenager in his or her first job to stand up to the employer and take the risk of victimisation. That seems to me to be a very wrong way to go about this matter, and not likely to get the results which we all seek.

I want, too, to say a word to the Secretary of State for Scotland about the problem of day release in Scotland, because we have in the Crowther Report a detailed indictment of the inadequacy of this kind of provision of education in England. I point out to the Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, who is new to this job, that it is a sign of the timidity of the Scottish Office on educa- tional matters that this very fine Crowther Report was a Report dealing entirely with England and Wales, and that we should not have anything comparable dealing with the Scottish educational system.

We have in the Crowther Report a detailed picture of the inadequate system of day release in England, but what sort of attitude are we supposed to take in Scotland? The inadequate level reached in England is held in front of us in Scotland as a sort of target to aim for by the Secretary of State for Scotland in the years that lie ahead. In Scotland we are doing only half as well as in England in the matter of day release. The tragedy is that we are beginning to do even worse than in previous years.

I had a letter from the Secretary of State for Scotland last week giving the latest figures of day release in Scotland for the Session 1959–60, which has just ended. During that year, there was a drop of 533 young people between the ages of 15 and 18 receiving day release education in Scotland. The figures were down from 17,303 to 16,730. My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) mentioned the speech made by the Minister of State for Scotland, Lord Craigton, on this problem on Friday of last week. My hon. Friend was unduly generous to the Minister of State, because he did not quote the Minister of State's comment on this situation. He quite bluntly, and, I think, quite rightly, said that the state of day release in Scotland is today shocking.

What is to be done about it? I am sure that one has to tackle this by bringing in the State and introducing some element of compulsion, certainly in those areas, as the Crowther Committee recommends, where there are already facilities available for this sort of education. At the moment, the only young people who get day release are those who happen to be in the position where it coincides with the interests of both the employer and of the State that they should gel, release. This applies to only a very limited number of people. Lord Craigton, I think, recognised this quite frankly. He said—and I quote from his speech: The fate of the nation"— the Scottish nation, for the Minister of Education's benefit— is in the hands of the employers. That is the situation we are in. We shall not make further progress in giving our children day release in Scotland unless we get a much greater degree of co-operation from the employers than is so far enjoyed.

We have watched this development patiently for many years, but the latest figures show a positive decline in the number of young people getting day release, which indicates to me that we cannot expect any real advance on the basis of voluntary co-operation. I hope that the Secretary of State will consider seriously the attitude put to him by the Scottish T.U.C. It comes out against the proposal for claiming the right of release for young people and urges the Secretary of State to take the initiative in certain areas where facilities are available in promoting schemes of compulsion. I think that to do it experimentally on that basis would teach us about some of the problems and be most useful.

I want to go on to the problems of university education. I am sorry that the hon. Member for Renfrew, East (Miss Harvie Anderson) has left the Chamber, because I wanted to give her support in her campaign for a fifth university for Scotland, and to ask her about inconsistencies in her speech. She seemed to indicate a great deal of anxiety lest we increase the number of university places too much yet, at the same time, she pressed the Secretary of State for a decision about a fifth university. I think that the hon. Lady must be unaware of the actual record of this country in terms of provision of university places.

The Minister of Education asked the House, in his speech, what sort of report he could make to U.N.E.S.C.O. about the state of education in Britain. I suggest that he might consider taking with him, in view of his gallant words of introduction to his speech, two of my hon. Friends on the Front Bench as part of the British delegation to U.N.E.S.C.O. They might help to prevent his giving too rosy a picture to the conference in Paris. The fact is that, taking Britain's university provision in comparison with that of other countries, it is a national disgrace. Our provision of university places is about half the Western European average.

It might be said by the hon. Lady, who seemed to be arguing the philosophy of the elite in university education, that this was so because we keep up standards whereas the other countries do not. But I agree with what my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff. West (Mr. G. Thomas) said. He pointed out, even given the present university standards in this country, how much wastage there is and how many young people there are who qualified by intelligence and ability to make full use of university education, but who, for one reason or another, do not get the opportunity to get it.

In pages 8 and 9 the Crowther Report gives some vivid figures about this and illustrates it with an interesting survey of National Service recruits. Of the top 10 pet cent. of ability in the National Service group, four out of ten left school at the age of 16. The Report showed that among that top 10 per cent. of ability, about 43 per cent. of the young men came from the homes of manual workers, and two-thirds of these left school at the age of 16. If we take the second rank of ability,—still well above average intelligence—we find that 75 per cent. of the young men who came from the homes of manual workers left school at the minimum age-15. There is a great deal of room for preventing that waste of talent, a waste which the nation cannot afford in present circumstances.

In Scotland, we have a higher proportion of university places than the United Kingdom; with 10 per cent. of the United Kingdom population, we have 17 per cent. of the university places. It remains true, however, that Scottish universities are turning away students who are fully qualified to enter universities. I have been seeking information on this subject from the Scottish universities. In an earlier debate I criticised the universities for being reluctant to give the House the kind of information on public questions which I think we ought to have. I should like to take this opportunity to give a word of thanks to the university authorities for the information which they have given me on this matter.

As the hon. Lady the Member for Renfrew, East said, there are immense complications in finding out just what the shortage of university places is in the community at the moment. There is a great deal of duplication of applications, there are people who apply who have adverse headmasters' reports, or who are applying after having had a very unhappy and unsuccessful year at another university But allowing for all these facts, and indeed, making a generous allowance for them, it seems to me that in Scotland at the moment there are probably about 200 students who possess the necessary attestation of fitness to enter a university, but who have been unable to find a university place. That is a guess—it cannot be anything else—but I ask the university authorities to consider whether they might not give us much more accurate information on these subjects as it affects the United Kingdom as a whole.

In bringing out these facts, I am not suggesting that Scottish students should have any absolute priority of entry to Scottish universities. Quite the reverse. I think that the more our Scottish universities, while preserving their national character, have a wide variety of people from many different places learning in them, the better they will be as universities. But I insist that Scottish students who fail to get a place in a Scottish university should have the same rights to seek a place in English universities as English students have who come to Scotland.

I am not at all sure that that is the case. My impression—and I should be grateful if the Secretary of State would correct it—is that Scottish local authorities are extremely reluctant to give grants to Scottish students to go out of Scotland and seek university places there. English local authorities, as appears from the case of my local university at St. Andrews, seem to be much less parochially minded. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will do everything he can on that point.

In case there is any misunderstanding, however, I emphasise that I am most anxious that Scottish universities should attract people from a wide variety of places. I understand that Edinburgh University is now divided roughly into 60 per cent. of students from Scotland, 20 per cent. from England and 20 per cent. from other foreign countries, although I am not quite sure whether the classification "other foreign countries" includes Wales! In any event, it seems to me a reasonably fair pattern. I am told by the University of Edinburgh that the faculty of medicine, which is world-famous in this session had 986 applicants for 150 places and that the Scottish applicants got 101 of these out of 141 applications whereas all the rest got 49 out of 845 applications. I do not think that the Scots can claim that they are being unfairly discriminated against by Edinburgh University.

Indeed, the Secretary of State knows that I have been concerned recently not so much about Scots being turned away from Scottish universities as about Africans being turned away from Scottish universities. I raised with him the fact that the Scottish Universities' Entrance Board have so altered their entrance regulations that it will be very much more difficult for African students to gain entry into our Scottish universities. There is a long and very honourable tradition of Scottish education carried out through missionaries in Africa, and it would be a tragedy if we were to find that African students were not able to attend Scottish universities when they wished to do so.

Scottish students who cannot get into a Scottish university may, if the Secretary of State acts vigorously enough, go to an English university, but African students who cannot get into a Scottish university are likely to be asked to go to Moscow or Peking. Russia and China are making vigorous efforts to attract young African intellectuals, on whom the future guidance and development of that great Continent very much depends, and I plead with the Secretary of State, although he has no direct responsibility, to use all the influence he can with the university authorities to make them aware of the wider implications of this change in the regulations.

There are other hon. Members who want to speak, and I will finish as quickly as I can. I hope that we shall have a much more vigorous and dynamic development of education than the Minister of Education indicated in his opening speech. I accept the arguments of the Crowther Report—I am sorry that the Government do not—about raising the school-leaving age in advance of a system of compulsion in further education, but all these things, in whatever order one decides to do them, whether to increase the university places, to increase further education or to raise the school-leaving age, demand a very much bigger recruitment of teachers than we have had. On the problems of recruiting teachers, the Crowther Report is immensely interesting, because it puts it bluntly to the Government that they have had responsibility during recent years and that if they had had the will to face up to the problems in advance, then the teacher situation would be a great deal better today than it is.

It all comes down to the Government having the political will to give education the necessary priority in our community. It is not a case of not having the money to do it. Crowther demolishes that argument in a devastating way when he points out that all the reforms which he proposes would cost over ten years an extra £250 million in public expenditure and that over recent years the community has been spending £228 million more on tobacco and on drink. This is a question of priorities and so much depends on the lead given by the Government.

In some ways this is the heaviest and most serious responsibility which rests on a Government of this country today—whether they will rise to the occasion, give a lead and insist that as a community we put education first and make the investment in education which is necessary not only to preserve our living standards in competition with other countries in the years ahead, but also to enable us to give a lead in showing how to build up a decent and healthy society in the second half of the twentieth century.

8.9 p.m.

Photo of Mr Richard Hornby Mr Richard Hornby , Tonbridge

I wish to carry on from the point where the hon. Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) left off, because I am very much in tune with his thoughts on that point. One of Adlai Stevenson's phrases describes the tenor of the debate. He said, apropos aid to under-developed countries, "We must cope with the revolution of rising expectations."

It is these rising expectations which we have heard about during the debate—rising expectations of longer years at school; rising expectations of better buildings to be taught in; and rising expectations of the right, which an American boy or girl has, to a university education if young people care to take advantage of it, regardless of their academic attainment. On that last point I quarrel with some Americans. There are rising expectations of a high standard of teaching, and rising expectations of something to do with the leisure which is coming more and more on to the horizon for the youth of today. All these are things to which people are looking forward. How quickly and successfully can we meet these expectations?

Several hon. Members have asked how many of the things that we want to do we can do all at once. How much have we to concentrate first on one priority and then on another? Hon. Members on both sides who have studied this subject recognise that an enormous advance has already been made. In recent years there has been a very large increase in expenditure and a very substantial increase in the number of students staying on at school. Yet some people, quite rightly, for material reasons as well as for cultural reasons, for personal reasons as well as for national reasons, are dissatisfied. Seeing other nations going as fast as ourselves, and in some cases faster—notably Russia—they ask whether we are matching what is being done elsewhere.

I want to concentrate on the size of classes and the number of teachers required to teach those classes, because that is one of the subjects mentioned in the Opposition Amendment, the other two points being that they want to see better progress towards a longer school life for every school child and better provision for further education. I shall concentrate on the size of classes and the provision of teachers because I believe that these points are absolutely fundamental to everything else in terms of standards. They are far and away the most important.

I wish to cite one or two points which have not been mentioned so far. We are right to put the reduction of the size of classes first, because that affects our ability to recruit teachers. The two problems are interdependent. A very large class of 30 to 40 pupils, or even more, puts off teachers. Their morale is lowered. Many of them fight very gallantly against this.

Twenty-four per cent. of classes in primary schools contain more than 40 pupils. Sixty-four per cent. of the secondary school population is still in over-sized classes. However much we may want the Crowther recommendation and many of the other things which have been mentioned, we must not forget those figures. They must come first.

From listening to the debate I have gained the impression that hon. Members opposite want the Crowther recommendations to be implemented now. They will, in fairness, agree that the Crowther recommendation was for 1966 to 1968. The Crowther Committee thought that that was the best period at which to adopt its suggestion. It has not been turned down by my right hon. Friend. The last date on which he must take a decision on this is in about 1963. That is the date when the decision has finally to be taken in terms of looking at the supply of teachers and the buildings available. He has from now until 1963 in which to concentrate all the energies of his Department on the supply of teachers, in the hope that at that time he will be in a position to say that the Government can go forward with the Crowther recommendations.

Photo of Mrs Eirene White Mrs Eirene White , Flintshire East

I have not been able to listen to all of the debate, but I do not think that anyone on this side has suggested that the Crowther recommendations could be implemented at once. What we have asked for is a firm decission by the Minister on which of those recommendations he will implement, and when. We believe that until there is a firm decision there will not be the necessary concentration of effort or thought on the part of those concerned. As regards the suggestion that the Minister is likely to be able to do it by 1967, we see from the circulars emanating from the Ministry that it has no thought beyond anything earlier than 1970.

Photo of Mr Richard Hornby Mr Richard Hornby , Tonbridge

I am grateful to the hon. Lady, because that helps to make my point clear. I hope very much that the Crowther recommendation will be implemented in about 1967. That is what I look forward to and want to see done. I also think that the Minister is quite right not to take a sharp decision now in advance of seeing what his success in recruiting teachers will be. This is a point on which the two sides differ.

The right thing to do administratively, and the way in which one is most likely to get an efficient system in 1967, is to concentrate now on the supply of teachers and, in the light of the Government's success in that field, to go ahead to the second half of the programme. Failure to announce a date now will not affect the success of the recruiting drive.

I want to mention, as a background to the debate, some figures relating to the supply of teachers. There are about 270,000 teachers in maintained schools now. To cope with the over-large classes, we want another 60,000. In addition to that, for the Crowther recommendation we want another 20,000, making 80,000 in all. The present average annual increase in the teaching force is between 5,000 and 6,000.

Those figures show what a very great increase in effort will be necessary and how successful the campaign for teacher recruitment will have to be if the 1967 programme suggested by Crowther is to be achieved and if the first point mentioned in the Amendment—the reduction in the size of classes—is also to be achieved. Nothing that we do or say in education debates should in any way seem to obscure the vital importance of the need for increasing the number of teachers.

What are the prospects of finding the necessary number of teachers? Are we, as my right hon. Friend suggested, doing all that we conceivably can to ensure that we get these recruits? In one respect we shall have a little luck next year, because the biggest output from the schools, namely, the bulge generation, will begin to emerge from the schools. We hope that the same proportion as now, if not a slightly larger one, will continue to apt for teaching as a career. This should, and will, help us.

Against that, in the following year we shall have to face the problem of the changeover from the two to the three year training course. We shall also have to face the considerable increase in the birthrate over the last four years. In about 1962 classes in primary schools will again increase in size. Over the last four years there has been an increase in the birthrate of between 10 and 12 per cent., which will cause very considerable strain, starting at the lower end of the schools.

In addition—I emphasise this point, because I do not want to belittle the problem we shall experience in recruiting teachers—because of the earlier marriage age there is a greater loss of teachers, notably women teachers, than we had initially expected.

For all those reasons, I emphasise that, to achieve what we want, the battle to get more teachers will be very tough and considerable expenditure will be involved. What are we to do to get them? We shall certainly need every one of the training college places. At present, we are deliberately overcrowding the training colleges in order to cope, as an emergency measure, with the year of intermission, but after that I believe that the overcrowding will be gradually run down over the years, and that, as the quantity is reduced, we shall try to raise the quality. That seems to be the right balance there.

Next comes the question of the quality of the students. I have looked into the matter as carefully as I can, and I have asked as many questions as I can, to find out whether we are refusing to accept into the training colleges people who have the right qualifications for teaching. Although I have no doubt that, here and there, mistakes have been made, my impression is that, by and large, precious few of those of the right quality who have wanted to teach have been unable to get into a training college. Nevertheless, in view of the increased numbers staying on at school and the increased numbers in the secondary schools, that might not be true over the coming years unless the training college expansion programme went ahead as fast as possible. I am sure that we shall need every one of those places.

I also make a plea for the maximum possible expansion in the day colleges. There are quite a lot of people who could be recruited for teaching for whom the residential course is not the right thing. In some cases, very much maturer people may have gone into industry and worked up to the middle ranks there. When those people find that they are not getting much further they may probably like the idea of teaching.

There might be some discussions in that respect between the representatives of the Ministry and of the employers—with particular reference to pension arrangements. If such people were subject to private pension schemes it might be worth while, because in that bracket there are some possible recruits whom we had not had hitherto.

With the remarks made by my right hon. Friend and others about the recruitment of women teachers—particularly those who have married and might be induced to return to teaching—I completely agree. That is obviously the biggest potential source of new recruits, and I hope that we shall get as many of them back as we possibly can. There is great need for carefully directed propaganda about the very real need there is for these people to come back. Such propaganda is very important, but, as has been said already, it is probably best done by those now in the teaching profession. If we were to launch a national campaign to try to get those people back and they found, after returning, that they were not wanted by head teachers and other members of staffs, the whole thing would pack up at once.

It would be an excellent thing were my right hon. Friend again to have a go at the Treasury, to try to make it see the light about this double taxation of the married women. It is sometimes possible to make exceptions where there is a particular need. For instance, we have made exceptions in our military training arrangements so as to provide exemption from National Service for mathematics and science teachers. According to the Ministry's Report for 1959 the resultant increase in recruiting was quite startling. The numbers nearly doubled. Special exceptions for a specially-proved national need such as recruitment of teachers might find justification even in the stony heart of the Treasury.

One comes back to money. The Board of Education, as it was in the days of which the right hon. Member for South Shields (Mr. Ede) spoke, has become the second largest spending Department. As my right hon. Friend said when talking about the Crowther Report, the expenditure seems likely to go up to about £1,200 million or £1,500 million in the 'seventies, and rise to above 6 per cent. of the national income. We shall get that money for the purposes that have been mentioned in this debate only if we succeed at every turn in carrying public opinion with us; by giving the sort of lead about our intentions—as mentioned by the hon. Member for Dundee, East—and also by getting our priorities right and by avoiding waste in quality and in administration wherever possible.

With those thoughts, I commend the priorities mentioned by my right hon. Friend. I am sure that there is a very real need for the expansion in university places to take place as quickly as possible. I also believe that, despite the Opposition's Amendment to the Motion, there is a large measure of agreement on both sides about the sort of things that we would like to see done between now and 1967.

8.26 p.m.

Photo of Sir Austen Albu Sir Austen Albu , Edmonton

With a great part of what was said by the hon. Member for Tonbridge (Mr. Hornby) I am sure most of us on this side would agree—in particular with his interesting remarks on the need for the recruitment of teachers. All this merely illustrates that one cannot consider education in separate parts but only as a whole. The recruitment of teachers is very much dependent on the expansion of higher education and, to some extent, the expansion of higher education is dependent on the expansion in the numbers of those who stay on in the secondary schools for longer periods.

I thought that the hon. Gentleman perhaps had not fully realised one point. He said that he did not think that many of those people who applied for training college places were turned down, though capable of benefiting from such training. I think that he underestimated the great scope for expanding the number of those coming to that level in the secondary schools. That was made clear by my hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) who quoted from the Crowther Report the numbers of those who left school at the age of 15 but who, had they stayed on, would have been perfectly qualified to go on to a university, or to embark on some other form of higher education.

When we listen to the sometimes rather complacent speeches of those who try to apologise for or excuse the level of our university population, we must remember that the number of university students in this country is lower than that of almost any other civilised country. Even if we add in the teacher training colleges and colleges of advanced technology—which certainly teach at least at the level of universities in many other countries—it still amounts to only 3 per thousand of our population, as compared with 17 in America, 10 in Russia and 6 in Australia or Czechoslovakia—

Photo of Mr James Ede Mr James Ede , South Shields

But has my hon. Friend considered the standard of admission to all except perhaps the top five or six American universities?

Photo of Sir Austen Albu Sir Austen Albu , Edmonton

I was coming to that point. I realise that there are some people who want to maintain a university system in this country as one in which only an élite are considered capable of going to the higher levels of education. I realise that this is a question which very much concerns the House and I shall deal with it in due course.

I believe it is essential that in the next ten years we should double the number of those who receive higher education either at the universities or at one or other of the institutions to which I have referred. This is a task for the University Grants Committee in its quinquennial review and for the Ministry of Education in respect of other colleges.

It is essential that the policies of both these bodies should be co-ordinated, because in the present situation the development of higher educational policy is divided between the universities and the new colleges which are teaching at university standards, which is illogical and confusing. For this reason I welcome the statement made by the Minister that he is setting up an inquiry which will examine all forms of higher education. I suggest that the terms of reference of such a body should be to determine the social and, occupational structure that we are likely to have at the end of the century and to suggest plans for the development of higher education in all its forms.

Coming back to the question of standards, I do not pretend that the answer to the question of what should be the form and size of our higher education is a purely expert matter. In determining such a policy, our social and political values are inevitably involved. I should have thought that hon. Members on this side of the House would be likely to have very different views on this subject from those of hon. Members opposite.

I was particularly interested in the remarks of the hon. Lady the Member for Renfrew, East (Miss Harvie Anderson) who seemed to fear that if we were to expand our university population too quickly we should be lowering our standards. Of course, we should. But are we then saying that those who attend universities should be only the gifted few and not those who would benefit from such an education? I hold the opposite view. We should expand the numbers who obtain a university education so that we include not only the gifted few but all who would benefit from it. I am convinced that the greater the number of those who have such an education, the smaller will become the social gap which exists in our society.

This is one of the beliefs from which I start when considering a policy for higher education and which I hope will be considered by the committee which the Minister is setting up. My second belief is that the need for qualified and trained people in all walks of life will grow, as I also believe that the need for the unskilled will decline. If we are to keep our place in the world, the general level of our education must rise.

My third reason for emphasising the need for this great expansion in university education is that there is a serious danger that the gap between the expert and the generally educated will grow. That gap already exists. Democratic control will become weaker and we may find the politician giving way to the scientist who may claim for his personal values a scientific justification which they do not really possess. Hon. Members may have read the fascinating science fiction story by Professor Hoyle, "The Dark Cloud", which deals with this subject in a very amusing and interesting way. He makes no bones of his contempt for politicians and his belief in scientists.

I welcome, as I think we all do, the foundation of new universities, but I would suggest that the nucleus for further expansion, exists already in the colleges of advanced technology and in the teacher training colleges. I also welcome the relationship between teacher training colleges and universities. A suggestion which I like, that has been put forward by some people, is that the colleges of advanced technology and the teacher training colleges should combine to form colleges of arts, science and technology with the right to award first degrees. They should certainly have independent government and should not come under the local authorities. Incidentally, I welcome the Minister's statement that he is going to examine the position of the colleges of advanced technology in this respect. They would presumably have to be financed by the University Grants Committee or some similar body.

Coming to the question of the standards of university teaching, I would remind the House that if we enlarge a pyramid we must have a larger base at the bottom. If we have more students, although many may be qualified for a university education, the average level may be lower. It does not mean that we will not keep the highest at the top. I believe that in the future the universities will have to pay more attention to general degree students in addition to those who take honours degrees. If they do so they will have to pay much more attention to teaching by comparison with research, although I recognise that participation in research is often a very good method of teaching.

In this connection, I believe that we may have to consider in the future whether we should continue to aim at a professional education in three years to a first degree, which is the case in almost all professions except medicine at the present time. I believe that, if a professional qualification is required, we may in the future find, as most other countries have found, that we require at least a fourth year or, in the case of the sandwich course, a fifth year, leading to a higher degree. If we could adopt such a policy, then the present degree of specialisation required at entry would be very much less. I believe that most people would welcome that.

Certainly, if the degree of specialisation at present required in the sixth forms of our grammar schools were to be reduced, this would help to break down the gap between Sir Charles Snow's "Two cultures" which today starts in the sixth forms of our schools. If we were to adopt such a policy of more general degrees and, possibly, a fourth year for those who want a professional qualification, a very much larger number could receive a university education who were not seeking through it a professional qualification but who would be able to continue their education side by side with those who were. In this way the gap between those who were going to university for professional purposes and those who were going for general education might be narrowed.

I wish to say something about what, at least, the Minister made to appear an important change in Government policy towards the technical colleges and the education of technicians and craftsmen. I hope that this was not, as it were, a false alarm, because what the Minister said sounded very important. I have heard nothing of it before and, as far as I know, no rumours have gone out about it. What he said sounded to me like a complete reformation of our technical education system. If this is so, I welcome it, because undoubtedly it is time we had it. In particular, there is a very serious need for a new form of education for those who will not, perhaps, go forward to a university or a college of similiar standing but who would benefit from a two-year whole time or three-year sandwich course of a vocational nature. This type of course, leading to some sort of award, which might be a Higher National Diploma, is needed for the increasing number of foremen, technicians and skilled clerical workers required in industry and the public service.

The present Higher National Certificate courses are now quite unsuitable, for two reasons. First, they have, over the years, come to be aimed at membership of the professional institutions and, therefore, in theory at any rate, each subject is supposed to be taught at university level, though I doubt whether it ever is. They are therefore not suitable for these students. The second reason, is that I believe that the type of education given in day-release or evening classes is not today adequate even for this purpose, that is to say, the training of technicians.

Of course, all these suggestions, whether for an increased university population or for increased education for technicians, by a sandwich course or full-time technical college education envisage a voluntary or compulsory increase in the numbers of those staying at school until 17 or 18. As several of my hon. Friends have pointed out during the debate, we have still a long way to go before our secondary schools provide equality of opportunity. There is not time now to refer in detail to the very interesting latest report of the Science Masters' Association about the provision and maintenance of laboratories in grammar schools, but there is no doubt that the inequality of opportunity is not only great, but the gap has even widened since 1957 owing to the activities of the industrial fund set up by certain industrial firms to support the establishment of laboratories in the public schools.

The figures really are quite startling. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) quoted some of them. It is not only in the provision of laboratories but also in the provision of technical assistance that the difference lies. For instance, the direct grants schools have more than twice, and the independent schools have nearly five times, the number of technicians assisting in the laboratories compared with the local education authority schools. The amounts spent on apparatus are also greatly different. In the case of independent and direct grant schools, the amount is more than twice that of local education authority schools, although, there again girls are discriminated against, as my hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) pointed out.

But this is not the whole story. Whether or not a child stays on longer at school is often determined by early experiences both in the family and in the primary school. Certainly a child starts with an hereditary equipment of intelligence, but there is growing evidence to show that intelligence is profoundly modified by social experience. The I.Q.—that peculiar yardstick—is not a fixed thing. Intelligence can be created by proper teaching methods and that is of profound importance to those of us on these benches who believe in social equality. We must tackle the inequalities of opportunity at the point where they are most effective in determining a child's life, and that is at the beginning of school life when the child has his first experience of formal education and when his whole attitude to learning may well be formed.

If we believe in abolishing social inequalities wherever we find them and where they are most harmful, we cannot be satisfied with the present size of classes in primary schools. I believe that this is profoundly important. The fund of talent which is wasted in our children is to be found not only in those who leave secondary school early for financial reasons, but also in those whose whole attitude to education has been determined by some very unfortunate experiences which they may have had in oversize classes in primary schools, especially when they may have come from families without a great interest in education. It is the first experience of education which may well determine a child's attitude towards it for the rest of his life.

I am afraid that I have gone from one end of the education spectrum to another, but education for a democratic society must be looked at as a whole, and that is my only excuse for doing so.

8.42 p.m.

Photo of Mr James Coulson Mr James Coulson , Kingston upon Hull North

I want to turn my attention to what many hon. Members besides myself obviously consider to be one of the most important sentences in the Gracious Speech, and I think that their very interest in this subject shows how concerned about it they are. I refer to that sentence which speaks of the continued expansion of schools and colleges. I am very glad that my right hon. Friend said that that includes not only colleges of higher technology and teacher training colleges, but also universities, university colleges and other forms of higher education.

I could not feel more strongly about the importance of universities in the life of the country and what a considerable influence they exercise on the rest of the educational system. We talk of doubling the standard of living, but that is something which does not happen merely with the passage of time. It happens only because of the various inventions which we invent and because of the exports which we make and because of our technical ability. All that, in turn, depends on the technical ability, inventiveness and industry of our boys and girls as they leave school.

Not only our standard of living, but our national esteem and possibly our national survival are affected. I do not wish to say that there is any monopoly of industry or inventiveness in people being educated at the higher establishments and universities. That has never been so, and never will be so, but I think that they supply a very important percentage of the people who will influence the wealth of the country.

If those ideas are true, we are in very grave danger of lagging behind in this race. I know that my right hon. Friend is aware of that fact and is worried about it, and I welcome the announcement that there is to be a review of higher education.

Perhaps at this stage I can indicate the lines upon which some of the advance should be made. I am putting them in a certain order which would not be the order of everyone's choice, but which at least reflects my view of them. The first thing is an alteration in the length of courses at universities and other establishments of higher education. The second is an increase in the number of university places; and the third is an alteration and rationalisation of entrance examinations.

I very much respect the independence of the universities and I know that the universities are very keen to find a solution to many of these problems. They are ready to co-operate and, although co-operation will not be easy, it is absolutely vital. In that co-operation, if it comes, there will obviously have to be some surrender of independence by the various universities towards forming a national scheme. I am certain that that is essential.

Let me deal, first, with the alteration of the length of university courses. It is not sufficiently realised what a strait-jacket the three-year normal degree course is and what influence it has on causing over-specialisation and cramming in our secondary education. The whole content of knowledge, particularly on the scientific side, has increased enormously in the last few years. The whole of the burden of this falls on the wretched sixth form boy, who has to specialise to get into a university. It is not entirely the fault of the universities, for the simple reason that if a boy or girl had not specialised and did not possess specialised knowledge, they could not go and take advantage of all the facts which are thrust at them from the beginning of the three-year course. The whole thing is rather a vicious circle.

First, therefore, I should like to see an extension of the university period of training. The training college courses have now gone up to three years and it is an anomaly that the length of the normal degree course has not been increased also.

My second point concerns the increasing number of places at universities and other institutes of higher education. The object of this is twofold. The first object is exactly the same as increasing the length of courses—in other words, cutting down too much specialisation in the schools. The second object is the obvious fact that it increases the number of graduates and, therefore, the flow of graduates into the nation, which should do the country good.

The need for expansion is recognised by everybody, by my right hon. Friend and by practically everybody who has spoken in this debate. My right hon. and learned Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced a few weeks ago that he had given the University Grants Committee permission to discuss with the universities an increase in the number of places to 135,000 by the late 1960s. Now, reading the returns for the universities for last year, I understand that the University Grants Committee has prepared a plan for the expansion of university places to 175,000 by the early 1970s. I understand that this proposal is being considered by the Treasury, whose decision, I hope, will be in favour of increasing the number of places. If so, this will represent a remark able increase in the number of places by 70 per cent. since 1958, from about 102,000 to 175,000, which is excellent as far as it goes.

As many hon. Members have said tonight, we must expand a great deal quicker if we are to keep up with continental countries. Federal Germany, for example, with a population much the same as ours, hopes to double its expenditure on education between 1960 and 1970 to provide for 300,000 university students. In France, the number is half a million. I know that numbers are not the only criterion, but they show a distinct disparity between the opportunities of education in this country and those in continental countries.

The shortage of places has a serious effect on our secondary education. The Crowther Report talks about broadening the basis of education and suggests that the scientist to some extent should be literate and that the arts man to a certain extent should have a knowledge of science. This is excellent, but we cannot do this sort of thing without the co-operation of the universities. If the universities would lay down as a condition of entry that the arts man should have a knowledge of science, possibly even including a certain amount of science in the first year of the arts course at the university, with complementary arrangements for the science man to have a knowledge of the arts, we should go a long way towards a solution of the problem. At the same time, none of this is possible unless we have longer courses at the university and more places, possibly as many as a quarter of a million and not merely 135,000 or 175,000. That is vital.

Many of our universities have expanded enormously in the last few years and others of them are continuing to expand or have plans for expansion over the next few years. Possibly, the best future lies in more universities. I have in mind the more historic centres like York and Lincoln and I hope that this sort of idea is being pressed forward.

Of course, the very unpleasant alternative to all this, as the hon. Member for Edmonton (Mr. Albu) mentioned just a few moments ago, is the creation of a privileged society, of people who have the privilege of going to a university, competition to enter which is maintained. As a correspondent said in The Times the other day, we shall produce, if we do not look out, a "package elite", which is something we would wish to avoid at all costs, even, if possible, at the expense of reducing the standards of entry; because, after all, what is the standard of a regurgitation of a mass of facts of the age of 18? What matters is the standard of the graduate turned out at the end of his three or four years' course.

The third thing with which I am concerned is the rationalisation of the requirements of the universities without deterioration of the independence and character of the individual universities. The first and very obvious of the discrepancies is that between Oxford and Cambridge over the necessity of Latin as one of the entrance requirements. The Universities of Oxford and Cambridge talk about rationalising entrance arrangements, but this discrepancy between them is one example of discrepancies which can be increased a number of times over among all the universities in the country.

That sort of thing not only makes the educational task more difficult, but makes the schoolmasters' task of advising almost impossible. I do not, of course, suppose that it will ever be got over to allow the sort of prejudice which prompted one college, which shall be nameless, to give a place to a man, who, when asked what he played, said, "Cor anglais", and when asked what position he held, replied, "The second row". At the same time, I feel that very serious efforts should be made at this very moment. There should be discussions between the universities and the Government and other interested bodies to see what can be done to rectify this very unsatisfactory position.

Finally, I should like to say something about grants for higher education and the Anderson Committee's Report. Reference to grants is also made in the Gracious Speech. I understand that my hon. Friend has not made up his mind about this problem. I hope that he will throw himself in with the majority of the Anderson Committee and recommend total abolition. The same considerations apply as they do to the provision of extra places at the universities.

I know that this involves considerable expenditure. Most of the things I have been talking about involve considerable expenditure, but I felt I had to make these points none the less, though I am not putting them forward as ones which take priority over the really important and prior thing, providing more teachers and reducing the size of classes. That, obviously, comes first, but these other things are, in my opinion, very close to the initial desire to decrease the size of classes and to increase the number of teachers.

I do not think that we as a nation can afford to refuse university and higher education to children who are actually suitable for it. We cannot afford to deny it to the children of parents who cannot afford it, particularly where the parents have a number of children equally suitable for a university education. Although I welcome what the Gracious Speech says about education, I hope that its wording does not preclude great efforts on the part of my right hon. Friend and other members of the Government to gain the co-operation necessary to achieve all these things, to get our educational system in the van of progress among the nations and to maintain our country's position among the nations.

8.53 p.m.

Photo of Mrs Harriet Slater Mrs Harriet Slater , Stoke-on-Trent North

In the five or six minutes left to me I wish to concentrate on one or two points. One is the question of the recruitment of teachers. I hope that the Minister will bear in mind the request I made to him that the married women will not be counted in the quota of women teachers because of the difficulty of getting them back and the fact that they would be unemployed by local authorities in whose areas their husbands who were teachers were employed.

Secondly, I hope that the Minister will withdraw the letter he has sent out dealing with the question of primary school teachers and training colleges mainly training for primary schools. I hope that he will take back that advice. We are at the stage in education where we need to unite the profession, not to break it up into groups or classes. I hope that that bad advice by the Minister will be withdrawn. Whether it was advice given to him, or his own point of view, makes no difference. The fact remains that teachers feel it very keenly.

The National Union of Teachers also feels it very keenly, because it is almost a slap in the face for all those teachers who feel they have a call to teach in primary schools, and whose standards are as important as those of any others in the teaching profession.

The other point that I wish to make is one which has already been made by my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas). It is that it is no use giving grants to people to go to the universities if, at the earlier stage, we prevent their having an opportunity of going there. In many of the secondary modern schools boys and girls are staying on until the age of 16 and 17 and examination results show that they are doing exceeding well, but in many cases there and in the grammar schools boys and girls are prevented from staying on because the maintenance grants are completely unrealistic. Many of these boys and girls are prevented from going on to universities or to some other further education mainly because their parents cannot face the burden of their remaining at school until they are 16, 17 or 18.

I know of a constituent of mine who has six children. He works "split turns" as a bus driver and because he gets a wee hit over the maximum allowed he cannot get a £5 grant for his eldest boy who is at a grammar school. This sort of thing is completely unrealistic and we are denying to boys and girls at the stage when they are most in need the opportunity to continue with their education.

Several hon. Members have spoken about university education and I entirely agree that every effort should be made to expand it. Nobody has fought harder than I have as a member of the local authority in my constituency for opportunities for working boys and girls to receive the best possible education. But further education is very varied and in our educational programme we must provide opportunities for all kinds of further education. Whilst the importance of the universities has been stressed today, I urge that we should not forget commerce and industry and the sandwich courses, the day-release courses, the adult education classes and the whole great variety of educational opportunities that should be provided.

The local authority in my area is providing as varied an opportunity of further education as is possible and I am very pleased to say that all our educational institutions are absolutely crowded out with students. If we had not provided pre-nursing and similar courses, the young people who have gone on from these courses to the training colleges, particularly to study domestic science, would have left school at a much earlier age. I hope that, our having provided the first part of this further education, the Minister will see to it that next year we shall be enabled to provide the second part.

I hope, also, that we shall not forget the youth and community work which still remains to be done throughout the country and through which opportunities are provided for those who have either missed or have not had the ability to take advantage of further education whether at evening school, training college or university. In these days it is essential that we should give youth the greatest possible chance to live a wider and a fuller life. I hope that the Minister will not be content to give a little help but will give a great deal and that in further education the recommendations of the Crowther Report will be put fully into practice.

Photo of Mr William Yates Mr William Yates , The Wrekin

On a point of order. You will have observed, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, Mr. Speaker's Ruling given at column 185 of the OFFICIAL REPORT for 2nd November, concerning the custom which has developed in this House in regard to choosing the subject for the day's debate. In that Ruling, reference is made to the new custom which, according to the Clerk of the House, began in 1918—the custom of arranging debates through the usual channels—and has been followed since.

Photo of Sir William Anstruther-Gray Sir William Anstruther-Gray , Berwickshire and East Lothian

Order. I do not think that this is an appropriate time for the hon. Member to raise that point of order. We have got to the end of the debate, and the winding-up speeches on each side must now be made.

Photo of Mr William Yates Mr William Yates , The Wrekin

Further to that point of order. I have been sitting in the House for twelve hours waiting to speak on behalf of my own constituents on the Gracious Speech, and not as a private Member to listen to business chosen by the two Front Benches.

Photo of Sir William Anstruther-Gray Sir William Anstruther-Gray , Berwickshire and East Lothian

It would be inappropriate to give a lengthy reply to the hon. Member for The Wrekin (Mr. W. Yates).

9.1 p.m.

Photo of Miss Peggy Herbison Miss Peggy Herbison , Lanarkshire North

My hon. Friend the Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White), who opened the debate from this side of the House, made a very excellent case indeed for the Amendment to the Motion for an Address on the Queen's Speech which we have on the Order Paper.

I was very interested to listen to the Minister of Education. He treated that Amendment and the speech of my hon. Friend not with boxing gloves, but with kid gloves. He was very gentle, but rather complacent. At the end of his speech, although from time to time he said that there were certain problems, he left me, and, I am sure, many hon. Members on both sides of the House, with the impression that we need not worry too much about the educational future of Britain.

I take the opposite view. Take the problem of teacher training and the shortage of teachers. I think that all those who have spoken from both sides of the House today have stressed the importance of this matter. For a number of years the Government have set up committees to advise them on the very best way of attracting more people to the leaching profession. Various committees have made reports to the Minister of Education and the Secretary of State for Scotland, and I will deal with some of their recommendations later.

I do not want to go over all the points which my hon. Friend made but, first, I want to take up one point on the question of teacher training which is perturbing everyone who is interested in education in Scotland. I was interested to find out that it was also perturbing those in England and Wales who are interested in education. This is the fear of the segregation of the non-graduate teacher from the graduate teacher in training. We have never had it before in Scotland, but I understand, and I have it on good authority, that the Secretary of State has sent out a memorandum with the proposal that the only new training college which we are to have in Scotland should be a training college for non-graduates. This is a very shocking thing indeed, but I will deal with that later, when I come to the question of the fifth university.

There is another proposal which has filled with dismay not only the teachers, but everyone interested in the future of our children in Scotland. This latest proposal is that we should train non-graduate men as teachers.

Photo of Miss Peggy Herbison Miss Peggy Herbison , Lanarkshire North

I am not surprised at the exclamation of my hon. Friend, though I know that it happens in England and Wales.

For generations of pupils in Scotland every male teacher of general subjects has had to be a graduate of a university. A special committee of the Advisory Council on Education in Scotland examined this question of how to attract more people to the teaching profession and it rejected the proposal to use non-graduate men teachers with only one dissentient voice—that of the hon. Lady who is now the Member for Renfrew, East (Miss Harvie Anderson).

Who would these non-graduates be? In Scotland, for a considerable time the non-graduate teacher has had to do three years' training, a provision which is now to obtain in England. If a graduate wanted to take what we term an ordinary degree he would have three years at university and a year at training college, making four years in all. If he were to be a non-graduate teacher he would have three years' training, and the men who took it would be those who had not the academic qualifications to enter a Scottish university. In other words, we should be debasing the currency of teaching in Scotland.

I understand that the Secretary of State says that he is considering this proposal because of the shortage of teachers. The same special committee which turned down that proposal with only one dissentient voice said that if we were to man our schools properly we needed 300 more graduates a year than we had before the war. Three years before the war graduate recruitment into our schools was, on average, 640 a year. The figure for 1959 was 894, a gain of 254, or only 46 short of the figure which the committee suggested in its report. I ask the Secretary of State whether he knew of this great increase in graduates entering the training colleges when he made this proposal for none-graduate men teachers?

The Minister of Education, on the training of teachers, said that they were making sure that the numbers and the quality of the teaching profession will increase. Those were his words. But if the Secretary of State's proposal is carried out it will ensure that the quality declines in Scotland. At another point in his speech, the Minister of Education said that we must take care not to lower the quality of our teachers. I say again to the Secretary of State that we should be debasing the currency in the teaching profession by accepting non-graduate men-teachers. Far from achieving what he wants—an increase in the number of teachers—he will attract fewer graduates to the profession, because fewer men graduates will want to enter a profession in which non-graduate men are to be teaching, because of the lowering of status of the whole profession.

In any event, if the Secretary of State foolishly carries out this proposal, who are these non-graduate men to teach? The pupils in our junior secondary schools? Are they to have them? Those children who, willy-nilly, will leave school at 15 ought to have the benefit of the best teaching possible until they are 15 years of age.

This committee made other proposals, one of which I am certain would attract more men and women, and particularly more men, into the teaching profession—pensions for widows and dependants. My hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) made this point in his speech, but who was the Minister who turned this proposal down when we discussed the Teachers (Superannuation) Act, 1956? It was the Minister who is once again Minister of Education.

We fought this as hard as we could to get pensions for widows and dependants—pensions that civil servants get as a matter of right—but the Minister of Education and the Secretary of State for Scotland turned that down. I want them to give serious consideration to this matter, because I am convinced that in searching for more teachers one of the ways to attract them is to ensure that their widows and dependants have security in future.

Then my hon. Friend dealt very adequately with the question of attracting married women back into the profession, but the Minister merely sailed off that as nicely as could be. He said that the way to attract more married women back was to get the unmarried women teachers to say what a welcome they would hold out to them. But perhaps also the married women who are still in the profession could also tell them that it is scarcely worth while for them to come back because of the penal taxation which obtains at present. My hon. Friend made that point very clearly and the Minister did not deign to give a reply to it at all. I hope that the Secretary of State will deal with it, if the Minister found it impossible to do so, because I am convinced that by that method we would be able to attract back into the profession experienced teachers who have been out of it for a time because of domestic responsibilities.

Finally, on this question of teacher recruitment, I say to the Secretary of State that this ill-conceived proposal to have non-graduate men, and other proposals that we have had in the last years—proposals which were actually carried to fruition in Scottish education—are bringing into education in Scotland what we consider to be the less desirable features of English education. That does not mean that I think that ours is so much better than the English, because in technical education we are in a very much worse position.

Why is it that since the Tory Government came to power in 1951 proposals have come, time and again, from the Scottish Minister bringing us into line with what obtained in England—but only that which obtains in England that could be criticised by English and Welsh Members? I have tried to find out why this should be. Perhaps one of the reasons is that we have had no Minister responsible for education in Scotland, except one, in this Tory Government, who was educated under the Scottish educational system. The Secretary of State, for instance, was educated at Winchester and Trinity College, Cambridge.

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

I hesitate to intervene, but I was at three previous schools—two of them girls' schools.

Photo of Miss Peggy Herbison Miss Peggy Herbison , Lanarkshire North

The Secretary of State has given the game away. If they were girls schools in Scotland they were not part of our ordinary educational system, because, thank goodness, it is a co-educational system.

Now let us take the Minister who has just left the Scottish Office and who was in charge of education there until last week. His education was in two Scottish schools, but they were Scottish public schools that follow the English system of education, and he finished up at Trinity College, Oxford. The present holder of this office as Joint Under-Secretary of State was educated at Eton and at Trinity College, Cambridge.

I have nothing whatever to say about these educational establishments. I think that each one is excellent, but no Scottish Minister has the knowledge of Scottish education and the pride to ensure that what is best in it should be obtainable throughout the country. I hope that greater efforts will be made to preserve what is best in Scottish education.

I now come to the question of university education, which also forms part of our Motion of censure. It is true that in Scotland a larger proportion of people attend university than is the case in England, but that does not mean that all who have the requisite ability or the necessary qualifications receive a university education in Scotland—far from it. The Crowther Report makes this clear.

The 1959 Report of the Scottish Education Department says: Many able pupils still leave school without completing their courses. There has been much talk of the Anderson Committee's recommendation that the means test should be completely abolished. This recommendation has the support of hon. Members on both sides of the House, but when the Minister of Education and the Secretary of State for Scotland are considering the recommendations of the Anderson Committee I hope that they will also consider recommendations that were made long before that Committee was set up. Those recommendations included one for a much higher grant for pupils who stayed at school after the age of 15.

I am not saying that every child who leaves at 15 does so because of financial circumstances, but many do. A committee set up by the Secretary of State recommended much higher maintenance grants for that age group. The Secretary of State raised them, but not to anything like the extent suggested. The Government must accept the major responsibility for the loss of those able pupils to our life in Scotland, England and Wales. One hon. Member opposite said, "But if you gave them grants to keep them at school you would need more teachers." Does not he and the Government realise that if those boys and girls had stayed on at school we could have been able to recruit from among them many of the extra teachers that we now so desperately need?

Can the Secretary of State tell us the extent of the present shortage of places in Scottish universities? Does he know? My hon. Friend the Member for Dundee, East (Mr. G. M. Thomson) wrote to the Secretary of State, and another hon. Member asked a Question of the Minister of Education to find out how many young people with the requisite qualifications to enter a university failed to find a place. The answer, from both the Minister of Education and the Secretary of State for Scotland was, "We just do not know". What a lame excuse, to say that they did not know because students made applications to various universities. That is a dreadful state of affairs.

The Ministers of Education for both countries so little cared about the matter that they had not bothered to find out how many youngsters in Scotland with a certificate of attestation of fitness and in England with the necessary academic qualifications have been refused entry to a university because there were not sufficient places. It is time they did know. How can we place any reliance upon their figures of the need for university places in the future if they do not know how many places we are short of at present?

At the moment, taking the proportion per 1,000 of our population who attend universities, we are lowest of all the developed countries with the exception of Ireland, Norway and Turkey. Some people say that we cannot judge the position properly because the standards are different. I agree that that is so in many instances, but the fact remains that in almost every other developed country more students over 17 and 18 years of age are receiving full-time education in some institution than is the case in this country. That ought to be of grave concern not only to the Minister of Education and the Secretary of State for Scotland, but to everyone in the country.

A Parliamentary delegation returned not long ago from the Soviet Union, I have spoken to some of them. They said that they were extremely impressed by the industrial and scientific progress in the Soviet Union. It impressed them and it gave them cause for concern. I know that there is much discussion about the hydrogen bomb and I realise the grave fears about it, but I am certain that in the future the greatest threat to this nation will come not from the hydrogen bomb, but from the great industrial and scientific developments in the Soviet Union. Again, I warn the Government that they are making little preparation for that.

I want to deal with the wastage in first year students in the universities. I understand from figures given by my hon Friend the Member for Glasgow, Maryhill (Mr. Hannan) and in the University Grants Committee's Report that it is over 20 per cent. That is a very high figure. Has the Secretary of State for Scotland or the Minister of Education made any inquiries about this serious wastage, or is it like the case of those who cannot find a place? I know that the universities are autonomous bodies, but the Ministers of Education ought to inquire why there should be a serious wastage of young men and young women who have attained the qualifications to enter a university but who, at the end of the first year, fail to make the grade.

I am informed, again from a very reliable source, that first year students are tutored mostly by the most junior and inexperienced of the staff. When teaching in schools is by inexperienced people we cannot expect good results, and in the universities it is the same. I do not know so much about the English as the Scottish universities, but in Scottish universities there are big classes where students are educated, or not educated, and there is a sorry lack of a proper tutorial system in many faculties. Has the Secretary of State for Scotland had any discussion with the university authorities about that? One way in which the Treasury could help would be through the University Grants Committee making increased provision for senior appointments to most of our universities.

My last point on universities concerns the halls of residence. We had a Report in 1957 from the University Grants Committee. It was an excellent Report. What has the Treasury done about it and what urgency has been given to it by the Minister of Education, particularly by the Secretary of State for Scotland? I say "particularly" the Secretary of State for Scotland because Scotland presents the blackest picture.

What do we find? The proportion of students in halls of residence in England is 31 per cent., in Wales 26 per cent., and in Scotland merely 12 per cent. The picture is even more gloomy when we consider various universities in Scotland. In St. Andrews there are 48 per cent. in halls of residence, in the great City of Glasgow, only 7 per cent., in Aberdeen until in the last year, when the hall of residence was opened, none, in Edinburgh, 10 per cent., and in the Royal College of Science and Technology, 2 per cent.

Photo of Sir Barnett Stross Sir Barnett Stross , Stoke-on-Trent Central

Is my hon. Friend aware that in the newest of our institutions, the University College of North Staffordshire, it is 100 per cent., as it ought to be in most of these universities?

Photo of Miss Peggy Herbison Miss Peggy Herbison , Lanarkshire North

I am delighted to hear that. If that can be done in one college, it is time that in the other colleges a great improvement took place.

University education does not mean merely attendance at classes. There is the influence of student upon student and also the influence of the lecturer on the students and the students on the lecturer. Where we have what obtains in Scotland, that influence is lost altogether. Those who travel are weary, and that may account for some of the wastage in the first year. Also, the discomfort of lodgings may account for it.

I wish also to ask the Secretary of State for Scotland about the fifth university and the new training college for Scotland. Two separate bodies are discussing them. The Minister of Education said that he wanted to link the new training colleges, where possible, to universities. It seems to me that that is just what the Secretary of State for Scotland is determined not to do in the case of the new university and the new college. I would ask him, as many educationists are asking him, to set up one committee to discuss the siting of both the fifth university and the new training college. If that were done, we might have some chance of getting a worthwhile university and a very good training college for our teachers.

My last point is about technical education. In its provision we are miserably behind England and Wales. In 1956, with a very great flourish, the Government announced their £10 million plan over five years for technical education in Scotland. Some education authorities believe that at that time the Government went round the authorities and added up what was on the stocks, and it came to £10 million, and so the Government said, "That is the sum that we shall spend."

The Minister said that our greatest shortage was in trained technicians. That is the field with which I am now dealing. This year, 1960–61, is the last year of the five-year programme. My hon. Friend the Member for Maryhill has given the overall picture, and I want just to look at the biggest city in Scotland, Glasgow, and see how it is coping with its share of the £10 million, which was trumpeted throughout the country. It is to have three colleges. Are the pupils streaming in to these colleges? Not at all. Not one of the colleges is open at the moment. Two are in process of being built, and the third has not even been started. Of the two that are being built, one is to take the place of a college which is already housed in ramshackle buildings, and so it will not be producing extra places.

My hon. Friend the Member for Kilmarnock (Mr. Ross) questioned the Minister on the college for his area. The young technicians who would have been in this college if it had been built—and it is not even started—are at the moment being educated, or not educated, in an old model lodging house. No wonder there is a Motion of censure against the Government on this question. We have had promises of great things, but none of them has come to fruition.

The Secretary of State need not say that the blame lies with the local authorities. He is responsible for education in Scotland. I am informed that it is a case of the plans from the education authority going to St. Andrew's House and being sent back by St. Andrew's House and altogether being given much more detailed examination than is the case when a secondary or primary school is being built. If that is the case—I am reliably informed that it is—a great deal of censure must rest on the Secretary of State. We on this side believe most sincerely that every child should have the right to develop to the very full whatever abilities and skills it has been endowed with.

The Government have now announced—the Minister announced it today as if it were something wonderful—that the Prime Minister will make a statement in a few days' time about a committee which he is to set up to inquire into all fields of higher education. The Minister of Education need not be proud of that announcement. That committee should have been in existence five, six or seven years ago, instead of its constitution being announced today. If it had been set up long ago, many of the problems now facing us would already be on the way to solution.

If our children are to have the opportunity of developing their abilities to the full, it will not be under a Tory Government, but under a Government who believe in equality of opportunity at every stage of education and put their priorities in the correct order.

9.30 p.m.

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

The House will have some sympathy with me in winding up the debate, if only because it is never easy to wind up in half an hour a debate which has covered both Scotland and England and Wales. If I fail to answer some points, particularly in relation to England and Wales, my right hon Friend the Minister of Education, who has watched the debate very carefully, will have them in mind. However, in what I shall say I shall cover from a Scottish point of view what applies to the whole of Great Britain.

The hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North (Miss Herbison) made a valiant attempt to justify what I understand is known by hon. Gentlemen opposite and in the House as a whole as a three line Whip. She attempted to justify this Opposition Amendment, moved on the last but one day of the debate on the Gracious Speech, on the ground that the Government have been too late. The gravest charge made against the Government in the debate is not that we have done too little, but that we have been too late. To some extent it may have been said that we have done too little, but the main charge has been that we have been too late.

Right hon. and hon. Gentlemen opposite must ask the question which every Government have to ask themselves: can one do everything which one wants to do simultaneously? That question has been asked during the debate, and various answers have been given. I do not think that anyone will seriously allege that one can do everything simultaneously. From what my right hon. Friend said in opening the debate and what I propose to say, it will be seen that the Government have an intense sense of urgency about the education problem. We have shown it by all we have been doing in recent years and by what is happening now. There may be faults. Of course there are faults. We are only human. All Governments are.

Some things should move faster than they are now: I will come later to technical college construction in Scotland. Taking all the points raised in the Amendment, it is obvious that the Government are moving hard, fast and effectively over the whole range of education.

The hon. Member for Lanarkshire, North raised one or two specific points which I will deal with before I come to the main part of my speech. She mentioned the memorandum on the training of teachers and talked about the training college in Lanarkshire and the non-graduate group of men. A memorandum has been sent out. It raises the main training problems for discussion. It makes no proposals. It only asks for views. That seems to be a very reasonable thing to do. Views were asked on the non-graduate men's group, but there is no proposal.

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

One must allow people's brains to work over a whole range of problems. The hon. Lady has expressed a very strong view. I know that very strong views on this matter are held by many people in Scotland, but it is worth testing to see what other views exist. One must be broad-minded, to that extent at least. The memorandum does not mention a women's college. I understand that this idea originated as a possibility from the Scottish Council for the Training of Teachers. That is the answer to the two points which the hon. Lady rather stressed at the beginning of her speech.

Photo of Miss Peggy Herbison Miss Peggy Herbison , Lanarkshire North

On the second point, do we have an absolute assurance from the Secretary of State that the new training college will, like all other training colleges in Scotland, take graduates and non-graduates?

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

I would not like to give a specific answer now. The hon. Lady raised it at the beginning of her speech and I do not really know what all she said was about. However, I have found the facts of what has actually happened so far and I shall not commit myself to an unknown proposition.

Another point that the hon. Lady touched on, not only at the end of her speech but when she interrupted my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education, referred to an inquiry into the whole question of further education She rather suggested that this should be on a Scottish and English basis—with two separate bodies—instead of on a United Kingdom basis. I cannot this evening forecast the Prime Minister's statement, but the problem of advanced education is to a considerable extent necessarily a Great Britain matter. To give only one very small example, the University Grants Committee is a Great Britain body.

It would be unwise for me this evening to say that I thought that there was a strong case for two bodies. The organisational problems may properly be examined on a United Kingdom basis, but I think that it would be essential for England and Scotland to apply in their own way any principles evolved, adapting them to their own circumstances and the nature of their own institutions. I want to be clear about that, but I shall not forecast now exactly what will happen. There are very serious considerations to be borne in mind when we are considering whether there should be one body or two.

Throughout the debate it has been noticeable that the number of school places provided in England and Wales and Scotland has not been mentioned by any hon. Member opposite. I agree that the specific point is not covered in the Amendment, but I do not wonder at their reticence. The Opposition know that the Government have a tremendous record in this respect. Throughout the whole of Great Britain, the number of school places provided in recent years has indeed been a remarkable accomplishment, bearing in mind all the other things that have been going on simultaneously—

Photo of Mrs Eirene White Mrs Eirene White , Flintshire East

The right hon. Gentleman realises, of course, that in a country where education is compulsory by law, if the population increases, as it has, one is under an absolute obligation to provide extra places. I therefore do not think that that is a matter of policy.

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

The hon. Lady should be a little careful about using that argument, because that was the position between 1948 and 1951. I leave out 1945–48, because I know that those were difficult years. Many plans were laid, but the fact remains that there has been a quite remarkable implementation by this Government simultaneously with many other things. In Scotland today—as is known to hon. Members opposite, but let them be reminded of it—almost half of our school children now receive their education in up-to-date buildings, most of them new. We have now largely transferred our activities from new buildings to the improvement of the existing schools, particularly those in the country. That is a good record and, as I say, I do not wonder that hon. Members opposite have kept very quiet about it—

Photo of Mr Harold Davies Mr Harold Davies , Leek

I represent a country area, and I have written to the Minister on this subject. There is absolute chaos in regard to our north Staffordshire country children. We have them being kept from school because of the difficulties, and the Minister knows that he is misleading the House about the agricultural and rural areas when he speaks like that.

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

My right hon. Friend the Minister of Education will have to deal with that, because I do not think that it arises from anything that has been said.

I turn now to the staffing of the schools. My right hon. Friend devoted a good part of his speech to the position in England and Wales, so I shall confine my remarks on this subject to the position in Scotland. As we have all said, on both sides of the House, in all our debates on education this is the most important and the most difficult problem in education at present. It continues to give great concern, but there are marked signs of improvement. My hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, East (Miss Harvie Anderson) gave some figures of what is now happening, and I should like to extend those a little on a slightly different basis.

In 1956–57, the number of students in Scotland who began teacher-training, graduate and non-graduate, was 1,950. This was 500 better than the pre-war figure, but certainly that was not remotely good enough. Since then there has been a remarkable advance because the figure is now over 2,750. That means an increase in recruitment of about 40 per cent. in the last four years, and we see no reason why this high level should not be maintained or even raised. I am glad to say that we are attracting more honours and ordinary graduate teachers as well as non-graduate teachers. That is very satisfactory.

Several hon. Members attacked me personally as Secretary of State for our failure to accept all the recommendations of the various committees which have reported on this subject. If they will look through these reports very carefully, they will find that there are only two or three that we have not been able to accept. I believe I am right in saying that. The hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North mentioned one. I know of one other which related to a highly difficult subject—full pay and pension—and I believe there is a third. But by and large we have used these excellent reports to the full. We have been able to do most of the things for which they asked and the results are showing very well indeed at the moment.

Although the actual number of recruits has gone up, we are far from satisfied, for two main reasons. We are not getting as many honours graduates in mathematics and physics or as many homecraft teachers as are required. The first category is particularly serious. The rate of loss of young women through marriage is also still increasing.

Increased college enrolment in the last few years is having an effect in the schools. That relates directly to one of the points in the Amendment. There are 700 more certificated teachers in Scotland than there were a year ago. That is not a bad figure. Some of the areas which showed the greatest shortages are the areas which have benefited most.

The increase numbers entering the colleges of education indicate that they are very much in need of expansion and, as the hon. Lady knows, the governing bodies have all been giving great attention to this problem, particularly in this past year. Plans are in train for increasing the total capacity by about 50 per cent., including the one new training college to which the hon. Lady referred. This figure appears, on present indications, to be adequate for the needs for some considerable time to come.

My right hon. Friend spoke about his plans for inducing married women in England and Wales who were formerly teachers to return to schools, and all I would say is, far be it from me to lag behind the Minister in his pursuit of married women. We are doing what we can to explain to married women who have been teachers the facts about the shortage and to encourage them to come back into service. We hope to advertise in, and to enlist the interest of, the Press, to seek the support of church and womens' organisations, to make use of film and television, and to circulate letters and leaflets of information to married women. As the Minister indicated, this campaign will start early in the New Year and will be carried on at the national and local level.

Photo of Mr George Thomson Mr George Thomson , Dundee East

Would the right hon. Gentleman press the colleges of education to recruit married women as students? There is evidence that discrimination is being shown by colleges of education against women students.

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

I will look into the hon. Member's suggestion.

There is no point in providing modern schools with modern equipment and well-trained teachers if the curriculum is not adapted to modern conditions. Great changes are being made which will open up new opportunities for young people in Scotland. In 1962 we will be introducing the new ordinary grade of the leaving certificate, and for the first time Scottish pupils will be able to qualify for a recognised leaving certificate at the age of 16. We hope this will encourage many who now leave school at 15 to remain to qualify for the ordinary grade, and that some who are successful will remain for a further period and obtain the certificate on the higher grade. In 1962, also, the certificate will be available to young people who have left school and who continue their studies at further education centres.

The Advisory Council on Education in Scotland has recommended that there should also be an advanced grade of the certificate. This would provide sixth year pupils with a clearer objective than they have at present and would help to develop a higher standard of work in the sixth year of our schools. This in itself might help to reduce the wastage in universities to which so much reference has been made. It is one of the things which really may help in that very serious problem.

I cannot give the figures in regard to university wastage for the reasons I have already indicated in letters which I have written, but I am prepared to examine whether there is a way of overcoming the difficulty. When speaking of wastage, it is interesting to realise that in Scotland, of course, we have a younger age of entry to university, on the whole, than there is in England, and this must have its effect. But my sympathies are with those who, like my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, East, feel that there ought to be a more careful study than there has been at any time so far directed to why this phenomenon should occur. It is serious, and I think it needs further examination.

I come now to what I would describe as the links between secondary and further education, because what I wish to establish is the case for a steady flow of education right from the earliest primary stages through to the fully trained, qualified, degree-holding output at the top. In its Report published last year, the Working Party on the Curriculum of the Senior Secondary School recognised that one reason why able pupils leave school prematurely is that their curriculum too often fails to take full account of their future vocational needs. The Working Party accordingly recommended a closer integration of secondary education with further education than exists at present". One of the measures it suggested was that arrangements should be made under which passes in the Scottish Certificate of Education should exempt students from the corresponding parts of the national certificate examinations. Negotiations on this have been successfully concluded and further discussions are now proceeding regarding the national certificates and diplomas themselves. If our proposals are accepted, it will be possible to secure much better co-ordination between secondary education and further education at this level. Also, it will be easier to guide students into further education courses suited to their abilities and thus again reduce the present heavy rate of wastage particularly in the more exacting courses.

In the debate on the Scottish Estimates last July, hon. Members very properly stressed the need to improve the links between junior secondary schools and further education courses. A good deal of preparatory work has been done on this subject by my Department, and the whole matter can now be profitably reviewed by a further working party consisting of people directly concerned with the work in the schools and in further education. I shall announce as soon as I can the remit and the membership of the working party.

I come now to the technical college building programme. As the House knows, White Papers for both England and Wales and for Scotland were published which contemplated large building programmes. I understand from my right hon. Friend the Minister that projects in England to the value of £100 million have been authorised under these programmes and, further, that the expansion of the teaching force in further education has gone somewhat faster than the Willis Jackson Report envisaged. In Scotland, as hon. Members have pointed out, the programme announced in 1956 for the period up to 1961 was £10 million and in 1959 a further programme of £6 million was announced for 1961–64.

I will just confirm the figures which were mentioned earlier. Under the two Scottish programmes, proposals to the value of £15·6 million have been approved, including 19 new colleges and a substantial number of major extensions to existing colleges. It is expected that by 1965 the new and improved accommodation will provide places for at least 100,000 day-release students. I mention that figure because I shall come back to day-release courses in a few minutes.

As regards actual building under the first programme to which I referred, it is expected that by the target date, 31st March, 1961, work either completed or under construction will amount to over £6½ million, with projects to the value of a further £3 million likely to start in the course of the following three months. Hon. Members have been quite firmly rude about progress with this programme. I have great sympathy with their concern about the speed of this programme, because I, too, feel that concern strongly.

The fact of the matter is that technical colleges have proved to me, while I have been Secretary of State, a most exasperating subject. When it comes to building them, there are invariably problems about sites, and such problems tend to have to go to public inquiry. As I understand it, and I have tried to examine the matter, one reason is that one wants to get a technical college as well placed as one can from the point of view of availability to students, particularly to students who attend in the evening. There is a serious shortage of right sites for these colleges, and that is one reason for the hold-ups.

The hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North implied that there was an excessive fussiness in the Scottish Office about plans, but the truth is that there is not yet a great deal of experience of the ideal planning of technical colleges and there is constant discussion about them. This is a case in which the best may be the enemy of the good. I have warned local authorities and, frankly, members of my own Department that they should not always strive for absolute perfection in this matter, or they will never get work started. I assure hon. Members that I am not complacent about this matter, but the fact is that we are working on the programme which we set out—[HON. MEMBERS: "It is not completed."]—we never said when it would be completed, but I think that by within three months of the target date we will have the whole of the first programme properly under way.

Photo of Miss Peggy Herbison Miss Peggy Herbison , Lanarkshire North

The right hon. Gentleman has said that we are on the target figure, but if he reads his own speech, he will find that by the time the programme was supposed to have been completed, only £6½ million of the £10 million programme will have been started.

Photo of Hon. John Maclay Hon. John Maclay , Renfrewshire West

At no time did we say that the colleges would be built in that period. It was always the starting date which was given. If the hon. Lady studies the original statement and what I have just said, she will find that is the case.

I now come to what for Scotland is an important but depressing subject, day release. In Scotland, the number of day-release students has risen from about 28,000 in the session 1955–56 to 35,600 in the session 1959–60, but I entirely agree that those figures are very unsatisfactory. On that we are all in complete agreement.

The position is disappointing, but I point out that the Government are doing their share. For a number of years, we have given a great deal of publicity to the importance of day release and, with the co-operation of the education authorities, as I pointed out earlier, we intend to provide some 100,000 places in Scotland by 1965. Undoubtedly, the opening of our new colleges will stimulate development. I sincerely hope so, for, with notable exceptions, there is insufficient sign that Scottish industry as a whole recognises the contribution which day-release education can make to the training of young employees. This is not the first time I have said that and we must all continue to try to bring home to industry generally the importance of this matter.

The Scottish Technical Educational Consultative Council has been giving a great deal of thought to this problem and on its advice, in a further effort to secure support for day release, at the end of last Session we dispatched two leaflets to employers and school leavers respectively and we will carry on that kind of work trying to bring home to the maximum number of people the extreme desirability of taking full advantage of these facilities.

I now come to the question of the fifth university in Scotland, about which my hon. Friend the Member for Renfrew, East made a specific proposal. The position at the moment is that the Government are considering the additional number of university places which will have to be provided in the United Kingdom. Until a decision has been reached on that, and until it is known what part of the expansion should take place in Scotland, it is not possible to say whether the establishment of a new university, as distinct from expansion of existing universities, will be necessary. If it appears that a new university is needed, the University Grants Committee will, of course, carefully consider questions of its character and location and pay close attention to the claims put forward by various parts of Scotland.

I was asked about the number of people who could not get into Scottish universities. I cannot give the answer to that question, but it is interesting to note that rather more than half the students of St. Andrews University at the moment come from outside Scotland. For that kind of reason, it is difficult to get a real assessment of the potential needs. Nevertheless, I take the point made by the hon. Lady the Member for Lanarkshire, North about the lack of availability of figures.

I should perhaps try to sum up the Government's educational objectives. On both sides of the Border, the Education Acts enjoin us to secure that all children are provided with education suited to their age, ability and aptitude. If each is to have the opportunity to develop to the fullest extent to which he is capable, we must ensure that graded courses are offered to suit widely differing abilities. The education offered should be provided in worthy premises. Therefore, we are pursuing a much larger school building programme than the country has ever known.

More important still, there must be an adequate number of well-qualified teachers. As I have made clear, and as my right hon. Friend the Minister of Education has done, too, the staffing problem continues to cause us concern. As I have shown, however, there are notable signs of improvement. Nor are our aims confined to the schools only. We are trying to develop our institutions of further education at all levels so that an increasing number of those who have left school may continue appropriate studies. We are anxious also that these young people should not be hampered by economic difficulties. It is for that reason that we are again examining awards to students with a view to their further improvement.

It is clear that we are pursuing these aims with a degree of energy and success which does not justify the Amendment. On its first point, concerning the size of classes, I emphasise that we are succeeding in getting more teachers; and this is the key to reducing the size of

classes. On the second point, it is precisely our concern about the size of classes that makes us wary of naming a date for the next big advance. The Crowther Report has not been rejected—far from it—but we think it right to reduce the size of classes before raising the leaving age or instituting compulsory further education. I am fairly sure that a great many members of the profession agree that we have got our priorities right in that respect.

Lastly, I come to the third point of the Amendment. From what my right hon. Friend and I have said this evening, it is clear that the Government are providing large funds for the development of universities and of other forms of further education. We have mentioned also our intention to increase awards of bursaries to students. All through this, there runs clear evidence of the intensity of desire on the part of the Government to get for this country the highest possible standards in education. One must be conscious the whole time that priorities must come into consideration, but I cannot see how hon. Members opposite can possibly go into the Lobby in support of their Amendment.

Question put, That those words be there added:—

The House divided: Ayes 229, Noes 321.

Division No. 1.]AYES[10.0 p.m.
Abse, LeoCollick, PercyGordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.
Ainsley, WilliamCorbet, Mrs. FredaGourlay, Harry
Albu, AustenCraddock, George (Bradford, S.)Greenwood, Anthony
Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)Cronin, JohnGrey, Charles
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Crosland, AnthonyGriffiths, David (Rother Valley)
Bacon, Miss AliceCullen, Mrs. AliceGriffiths, W. (Exchange)
Baird, JohnDavies, G. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)Grimond, J.
Baxter, William (Stirlingshire, W.)Davies, Harold (Leek)Gunter, Ray
Beaney, AlanDavies, Ifor (Gower)Hale, Leslie (Oldham, W.)
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
Bence, Cyril (Dunbartonshire, E.)Deer, GeorgeHamilton, William (West Fife)
Benn, Hn. A. Wedgwood (Brist'l, S. E.)de Freitas, GeoffreyHannan, William
Benson, Sir GeorgeDelargy, HughHart, Mrs. Judith
Blackburn, F.Dempsey, JamesHayman, F. H.
Blyton, WilliamDodds, NormanHealey, Denis
Boardman, H.Donnelly, DesmondHenderson, Rt. Hn. Arthur (Rwly Regis)
Bowden, Herbert W. (Leics, S. W.)Driberg, TomHerbison, Miss Margaret
Bowen, Roderic (Cardigan)Ede, Rt. Hon. ChuterHewitson, Capt. M.
Bowles, FrankEdelman, MauriceHill, J. (Midlothian)
Boyden, JamesEdwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)Hilton, A. V.
Brockway, A. FennerEdwards, Robert (Bilston)Holman, Percy
Brown, Alan (Tottenham)Edwards, Walter (Stepney)Houghton, Douglas
Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)Evans, AlbertHowell, Charles A.
Brown, Thomas (Ince)Fernyhough, E.Hoy, James H.
Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)Finch, HaroldHughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)Fitch, AlanHughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
Callaghan, JamesForman, J. C.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Castle, Mrs. BarbaraFraser, Thomas (Hamilton)Hunter, A. E.
Chapman, DonaldGaitskell, Rt. Hon. HughHynd, John (Attercliffe)
Chetwynd, GeorgeGeorge, Lady Megan LloydIrvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
Cliffe, MichaelGinsburg, DavidIrving, Sydney (Dartford)
Janner, BarnettNeal, HaroldStonehouse, John
Jay, Rt. Hon. DouglasNoel-Baker, Francis (Swindon)Stones, William
Jeger, GeorgeNoel-Baker, Rt. Hn. Philip (Derby, S.)Strachey, Rt. Hon. John
Jenkins, Roy (Stechford)Oliver, G. H.Strauss, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Vauxhall)
Johnson, Carol (Lewisham, S.)Oram, A. E.Stross, Dr. Barnett (Stoke-on-Trent, C.)
Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)Oswald, ThomasSummerskill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Edith
Jones, Dan (Burnley)Owen, WillSwain, Thomas
Jones, Elwyn (West Ham, S.)Paget, R. T.Swingler, Stephen
Jones, Jack (Rotherham)Pannell, Charles (Leeds, W.)Sylvester, George
Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)Pargiter, G. A.Symonds, J. B.
Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)Parker, John (Dagenham)Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
Kelley, RichardPavitt, LawrenoeThomas, George (Cardiff, W.)
Kenyon, CliffordPearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.Peart, FrederickThompson, Dr. Alan (Dunfermline)
King, Dr. HoracePentland, NormanThomson, G. M. (Dundee, E.)
Lawson, GeorgePopplewell, ErnestThornton, Ernest
Ledger, RonPrentice, R. E.Timmons, John
Lee, Frederick (Newton)Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)Tomney, Frank
Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannook)Probert, ArthurUngoed-Thomas, Sir Lynn
Lever, Harold (Cheetham)Proctor, W. T.Wade, Donald
Lever, L. M. (Ardwick)Pursey, Cmdr. HarryWainwright, Edwin
Lewis, Arthur (West Ham, N.)Randall, HarryWarbey, William
Lipton, MarcusRankin, JohnWeitzman, David
Loughlin, CharlesRedhead, E. C.Wells, Percy (Faversham)
Mabon, Dr. J. DicksonReid, WilliamWells, William (Walsall, N.)
McCann, JohnReynolds, G. W.White, Mrs. Eirene
MacColl, JamesRhodes, H.Whitlock, William
McInnes, JamesRoberts, Albert (Normanton)Wigg, George
McKay, John (Wallsend)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B.
Mackie, JohnRobinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)Wilkins, W. A.
McLeavey, FrankRoss, WilliamWilley, Frederick
Mabon, SimonRoyle, Charles (Salford, West)Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.Williams, Rev. LI. (Abertillery)
Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)Short, EdwardWilliams, W. R. (Openshaw)
Manuel, A. C.Silverman, Julius (Aston)Willis, E. C. (Edinburgh, E.)
Mapp, CharlesSilverman, Sydney (Nelson)Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
Marquand, Rt. Hon. H. A.Skeffington, ArthurWinterbottom, R. E.
Mayhew, ChristopherSlater, Mrs. Harriet (Stoke, N.)Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
Mellish, R. J.Slater, Joseph (Sedgefield)Woof, Robert
Mendleson, J. J.Small, WilliamWyatt, Woodrow
Millan, BruceSmith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)Yates, Victor (Ladywood)
Mitchison, G. R.Snow, JulianZilliacus, K.
Moody, A. S.Sorensen, R. W.
Morris, JohnSoskice, Rt. Hon. Sir FrankTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mort, D. L.Spriggs, LeslieMr. John Taylor and
Moyle, ArthurSteele, ThomasMr. G. H. R. Rogers.
Mulley, FrederickStewart, Michael (Fulham)
NOES
Agnew, Sir PeterBryan, Pauld'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry
Aitken, W. T.Bullard, DenysDeedes, W. F.
Allan, Robert (Paddington, S.)Bullus, Wing Commander Ericde Ferranti, Basil
Allason, JamesBurden, F. A.Digby, Simon Wing field
Alport, Rt. Hon. C. J. M.Butcher, Sir HerbertDonaldson, Cmdr. C. E. M.
Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)Campbell, Sir David (Belfast, S.)Doughty, Charles
Arbuthnot, JohnCampbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)Drayson, G. B.
Ashton, Sir HubertCarr, Compton (Barons Court)du Cann, Edward
Atkins, HumphreyCarr, Robert (Mitcham)Duthie, Sir William
Barber, AnthonyCary, Sir RobertEccles, Rt. Hon. Sir David
Barlow, Sir JohnChannon, H. P. G.Elliott, R. W.
Barter, JohnChataway, ChristopherEmmet, Hon. Mrs. Evelyn
Batsford, BrianChichester-Clark, R.Farey-Jones, F. W.
Baxter, Sir Beverley (Southgate)Clark, Henry (Antrim, N.)Farr, John
Beamish, Col. TuftonClark, William (Nottingham, S.)Fell, Anthony
Bell, Ronald (S. Bucks.)Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmth, W.)Finlay, Graeme
Bennett, F. M. (Torquay)Cleaver, LeonardFisher, Nigel
Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gos & Fhm)Cole, NormanFletcher-Cooke, Charles
Berkeley, HumphryCooke, RobertForrest, George
Bidgood, John C.Cooper, A. E.Fraser, Hn. Hugh (Stafford & stone)
Biggs-Davison, JohnCordeaux, Lt.-Col. J. K.Fraser, Ian (Plymouth, Sutton)
Birch, Rt. Hon. NigelCordle, JohnFreeth, Denzil
Bishop, F. P.Corfield, F. V.Galbraith, Hon. T. G. D.
Black, Sir CyrilCostain, A. P.Gammans, Lady
Bossom, CliveCoulson, J. M.Gardner, Edward
Bourne-Arton, A.Courtney, Cdr. AnthonyGeorge, J. C. (Pollok)
Box, DonaldCraddock, Sir BeresfordGibson-Watt, David
Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. JohnCritchley, JulianGlover, Sir Douglas
Boyle, Sir EdwardCrosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Glyn, Dr. Alan (Clapham)
Braine, BernardCrowder, F. P.Glyn, Sir Richard (Dorset, N.)
Brewis, JohnCunningham, KnoxGodber, J. B.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.Curran, CharlesGoodhart, Philip
Brooke Rt. Hon. HenryCurrie, G. B. H.Goodhew, Victor
Brooman-White, R.Dalkeith, Earl ofGough, Frederick
Browne, Percy (Torrington)Dance, JamesGower, Raymond
Grant, Rt. Hon. William (Woodside)Longden, GilbertRoberts, Sir Peter (Heeley)
Grant-Ferris, Wg Cdr. R. (Nantwich)Loveys, Walter H.Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
Green, AlanLow, Rt. Hon. Sir TobyRobson Brown, Sir William
Gresham Cooks, R.Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
Grosvenor, Lt.-Col. R. G.Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughRoots, William
Gurden, HaroldMcAdden, StephenRopner, Col. Sir Leonard
Hall, John (Wycombe)MacArthur, IanRoyle, Anthony (Richmond, Surrey)
Hamilton, Michael (Wellingborough)McLaren, MartinRussell, Ronald
Hare, Rt. Hon. JohnMcLaughlin, Mrs. PatriciaSandys, Rt. Hon. Duncan
Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N. W.)Maclay, Rt. Hon. JohnScott-Hopkins, James
Harris, Reader (Heston)Maclean, Sir Fitzroy (Bute & N. Ayrs.)Seymour, Leslie
Harrison, Brian (Maidon)McLean, Neil (Inverness)Sharples, Richard
Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere (Macclesf'd)Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)Shaw, M.
Harvey, John (Walthamstow, E.)MacLeod, John (Ross & Cromarty)Shepherd, William
Harvie Anderson, MissMcMaster, Stanley R.Simon, Sir Jocelyn
Hay, JohnMacmillan, Rt. Hn. Harold (Bromley)Skeet, T. H. H.
Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir LionelMacmillan, Maurice (Halifax)Smith, Dudley (Br'ntf'rd & Chiswick)
Heath, Rt. Hon. EdwardMacpherson, Niall (Dumfries)Smyth, Brig. Sir John (Norwood)
Henderson, John (Cathoart)Maddan, MartinSoames, Rt. Hon. Christopher
Henderson-Stewart, Sir JamesMaginnis, John E.Spearman, Sir Alexander
Hendry, ForbesMaitland, Sir JohnSpeir, Rupert
Hicks Beach, Maj. W.Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hon. Sir R.Stanley, Hon. Richard
Hiley, JosephMarkham, Major Sir FrankStevens, Geoffrey
Hill, Dr. Rt. Hon. Charles (Luton)Marlowe, AnthonySteward, Harold (Stockport, S.)
Hill, Mrs. Eveline (Wythenthawe)Marples, Rt. Hon. ErnestStoddart-Scott, Col. Sir Malcolm
Hill, J. E. B. (S. Norfolk)Marshall, DouglesStorey, Sir Samuel
Hirst, GeoffreyMarten, NeilStudholme, Sir Henry
Hobson, JohnMatthews, Gordon (Meriden)Summers, Sir Spencer (Aylesbury)
Hocking, Philip N.Maudling, Rt. Hon. ReginaldSumner, Donald (Orpington)
Holland, PhilipMawby, RayTalbot, John E.
Hollingworth, JohnMaydon, Lt.-Cmdr. S. L. C.Tapsell, Peter
Hope, Rt. Hon. Lord JohnMills, StrattonTaylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
Hopkins, AlanMolson, Rt. Hon. HughTaylor, W. J. (Bradford, N.)
Hornby, R. P.Montgomery, FergusTeeling, William
Hornsby-Smith, Rt. Hon. PatriciaMoore, Sir ThomasTemple, John M.
Howard, Gerald (Cambridgeshire)Morgan, WilliamThatcher, Mrs. Margaret
Howard, Hon. G. R. (St. Ives)Morrison, JohnThomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
Howard, John (Southampton, Test)Mott-Raddyffe, Sir CharlesThomas, Peter (Conway)
Hughes Hallet, Vice-Admiral JohnNabarro, GeraldThompson, Kenneth (Walton)
Hughes-Young, MichaelNeave, AireyThompson, Richard (Croydon, S.)
Hulbert, Sir NormanNoble, MichaelThorneycroft, Rt. Hon. Peter
Hurd, Sir AnthonyNugent, Sir RichardThornton-Kemsley, Sir Colin
Hutchison, Michael ClarkOakshott, Sir HendrieTiley, Arthur (Bradford, W.)
Iremonger, T. L.Orr, Capt. L. P. S.Tilney, John (Wavertree)
Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)Osborn, John (Hallam)Turner, Colin
Jackson, JohnOsborne, Cyril (Louth)Turton, Rt. Hon. R. H.
Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)Page, John (Harrow, West)van Straubenzee, w. R.
Johnson, Dr. Donald (Carlisle)Page, GrahamVane, W. M. F.
Johnson, Eric (Blackley)Pannell, Norman (Kirkdale)Vaughan-Morgan, Sir John
Johnson Smith, GeoffreyPartridge, E.Vickers, Miss Joan
Jones, Rt. Hn. Aubrey (Hall Green)Pearson, Frank (Clitheroe)Vosper, Rt. Hon. Dennis
Joseph, Sir KeithPeel, JohnWakefield, Sir Waved (St. M'lebone)
Kerans, Cdr. J. S.Peroival, IanWalker-Smith, Rt. Hon. Derek
Kerr, Sir HamiltonPickthorn, Sir KennethWall, Patrick
Kershaw, AnthonyPilkington, Capt. RichardWatkinson, Rt. Hon. Harold
Kimball, MarcusPitman, I. J.Watts, James
Kirk, PeterPitt, Miss EdithWebster, David
Kitson, TimothyPott, PercivallWells, John (Maidstone)
Lagden, GodfreyPowell, Rt. Hon. J. EnochWhitelaw, William
Lambton, ViscountPrice, David (Eastleigh)Williams, Dudley (Exeter)
Lancaster, Col. C. G.Price, H. A. (Lewisbam, W.)Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
Leather, E. H. C.Prior, J. M. L.Wills, Sir Gerald (Bridgwater)
Leavey, J. A.Prior-Palmer, Brig. Sir OthoWilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
Leburn, GilmourProfumo, Rt. Hon. JohnWolrige-Gordon, Patrick
Legge-Bourke, Sir HarryRamsden, JamesWood, Rt. Hon. Richard
Lewis, Kenneth (Rutland)Rawlinson, PeterWoodhouse, C. M.
Lilley, F. J. P.Redmayne, Rt. Hon. MartinWoodnutt, Mark
Lindsay, MartinRees, HughWoollam, John
Linstead, Sir HughRees-Davies, W. R.Worsley, Marcus
Litchfield, Capt. JohnRenton, DavidYates, William (The Wrekin)
Lloyd, Rt. Hn. Geoffrey (Sut'n C'field)Ridley, Hon. Nicholas
Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)Ridsdale, JulianTELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Longbottom, CharlesRippon, GeoffreyMr. Edward Wakefield and
Colonel J. H. Harrison.

Main Question again proposed.

It being after Ten o'clock, the debate stood adjourned.

Debate to be resumed Tomorrow.