Fee-paying and Selective Schools

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd April 1970.

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Photo of Mr Ian MacArthur Mr Ian MacArthur , Perth and East Perthshire 12:00 am, 22nd April 1970

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what further discussions he has held with regard to the future of local authority fee-paying schools in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Mr. Edward M. Taylor:

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a further statement on the discussions which he has had with Glasgow and Edinburgh Corporations about the future of their fee-paying and selective schools.

Photo of Mr James Stodart Mr James Stodart , Edinburgh West

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what reply he has received from Edinburgh Corporation to his letter of 23rd January on the subject of future arrangements which he has asked it to make with regard to fee-paying schools and if he will make a statement.

Earl of Dalkeith:

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he will make a further statement on fee-paying schools in Edinburgh, in the light of the replies of Edinburgh Corporation to his letter of 23rd January.

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Bruce Milan):

My Department wrote to Edinburgh and Glasgow Corporations on 23rd January asking them to consider amendments to their scheme of transfer and educational provision to take account of the 1969 Education (Scotland) Act which removes the power to charge fees for school education at schools managed by them. Edinburgh requested a discussion, which was held on 20th February. I now have replies from both authorities, and I am considering these.

Photo of Mr Ian MacArthur Mr Ian MacArthur , Perth and East Perthshire

Will the hon. Gentleman assure us that while he considers these proposals he will stop bullying and badgering the democratically-elected bodies in Edinburgh and Glasgow?

Photo of Mr Bruce Millan Mr Bruce Millan , Glasgow Craigton

I would not accept for one moment that I have been bullying and badgering anyone on this. I certainly intend to give the replies full consideration, but I would hope that some kind of announcement would be made about the result of that consideration quite shortly.

Mr. Taylor:

Would the hon. Gentleman make it clear that a scheme will be absolutely unacceptable if it contains any selection method for entry to secondary schools?

Photo of Mr Bruce Millan Mr Bruce Millan , Glasgow Craigton

I have already made it clear that we want to see the abolition of selection.

Earl of Dalkeith:

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that many people are out- raged at the Government not only for depriving them of freedom of choice but more particularly for the way in which they have kicked in the teeth two of Scotland's largest local authorities which are perfectly capable of making up their own minds on this matter?

Photo of Mr Bruce Millan Mr Bruce Millan , Glasgow Craigton

I am not aware that there is a large number of people who are outraged. I am aware that a large number of people in Scotland fully support the Government's determination to introduce comprehensive reorganisation because they are aware of the wastage involved in the selective system.

Photo of Mr Alexander Eadie Mr Alexander Eadie , Midlothian

Is my hon. Friend aware that as we in Midlothian have no fee-paying schools, and because we live close to Edinburgh, many people are leaving Edinburgh and coming to live in Midlothian because of the education set-up there?

Photo of Mr Bruce Millan Mr Bruce Millan , Glasgow Craigton

I am aware of the excellent education record of the Midlothian authority, and I am very much looking forward to opening a large new comprehensive school in Midlothian this Friday.