Education Facilities (Sex Discrimination)

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th February 1972.

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Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West 12:00 am, 10th February 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will take steps to withdraw immediately all official circulars to local education authorities which have the effect of discriminating against the provision of educational facilities for girls as against boy pupils.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

Will the right hon. Gentleman—[Interruption.] I apologise to the right hon. Lady; she no doubt knows what she is—say whether she has replied to communications from the National Joint Committee of Working Men's Organisations in respect of discrimination against girls in the provision of science facilities in schools? Does that situation still apply? Has she issued a recent circular to local education authorities on this matter to say that they must not discriminate? Will she make similar representations to the universities in respect of access to medical faculties by female students?

Photo of Mrs Margaret Thatcher Mrs Margaret Thatcher Secretary of State for Education and Science, Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Science

I must say that I take great exception to the hon. Gentleman's mistake at the beginning of his supplementary question. As for his request, I believe he is referring to a building bulletin which was published 18 years ago and which is now both out of date and out of print. There have been 12 secondary school building bulletins since that time. We do not impose regulations on local education authorities about how they arrange the space within the school building in relation to particular subjects. I shall shortly be replying to the letter to which the hon. Gentleman refers.

Photo of Mr Willie Hamilton Mr Willie Hamilton , Fife West

In view of that unsatisfactory answer, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.