School-leaving Age

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th March 1969.

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Photo of Mr Fred Silvester Mr Fred Silvester , Walthamstow West 12:00 am, 6th March 1969

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals he has for allowing exemptions when the school-leaving age is raised to 16 years.

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

None, Sir, but I am about to consult teachers and local authority associations about whether in certain circumstances older schoolchildren should be allowed to attend further education institutions instead of school.

Photo of Mr Fred Silvester Mr Fred Silvester , Walthamstow West

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that both the majority and minority Reports of the Crowther Committee recommended that some exemptions would be required? Why has he rejected that recommendation?

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

I would not be prepared to agree to making exemptions from some sort of schooling because that would conflict with the whole object of raising the school-leaving age.

Photo of Mr Chris Price Mr Chris Price , Birmingham, Perry Barr

Does my right hon. Friend agree that his answer about allowing older children to spend some time in colleges of further education is a very useful and encouraging one? Can he be a little more specific about what he means by "older children"? Can he put an age range on that phrase?

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

I mean by older children those in the last year, the fifth year in the secondary school. There are difficulties here, but we are discussing them with the local authority associations and the teachers' organisations.