Public Schools Commission

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th December 1968.

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Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury 12:00 am, 5th December 1968

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science when he intends to make a statement on the First Report of the Public Schools Commission.

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

The Government are still considering the Report and I cannot yet give a firm date for a statement, although I hope this will be possible early in 1969.

Photo of Mr Neil Marten Mr Neil Marten , Banbury

Why is it taking the right hon. Gentleman so long to make up his mind, when the Labour Party conference made up its mind quite firmly in October and rejected the Report? In the light of the new Labour Party rule, is the Minister to appear before his party committee?

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

It is taking time because it is a long and complicated Report with 50 recommendations. The Commission spent a great deal of time on it, and the least I can do is to pay close attention to its recommendations and consult a great many people about them.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will now disband the Commission on the Public Schools.

Photo of Mr John Boyd-Carpenter Mr John Boyd-Carpenter , Kingston upon Thames

In view of the fairly general derision with which the majority Report was received, including that expressed by the Minister of State at the Labour Party conference, would it not be better to spend the money now being spent on this Commission on more directly useful educational purposes?

Photo of Mr Edward Short Mr Edward Short , Newcastle upon Tyne Central

No, Sir. The second part is particularly important because it deals with the direct grant schools; these are one of the great impediments in the way of secondary reorganisation throughout the country, and it is most important that the problem should be looked at in depth.