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Secondary Education

Oral Answers to Questions — Northern Ireland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 27th February 1986.

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Photo of Mr James Pawsey Mr James Pawsey , Rugby and Kenilworth 12:00 am, 27th February 1986

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he has any plans to seek to change the form of secondary education in the Province; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Dr Brian Mawhinney Dr Brian Mawhinney , Peterborough

There are no plans to change the form of secondary education in Northern Ireland, but I am always willing to consider on their merits any formal proposals for reorganisation which may be submitted in the best interests of local schools and their pupils.

Photo of Mr James Pawsey Mr James Pawsey , Rugby and Kenilworth

I congratulate my hon. Friend on his first reply from the Dispatch Box. I hope that it will be the first of many.

Will my hon. Friend give details of examination results in the Province, especially those at 0 and A-level, and how they compare with the rest of the United Kingdom? What part does selective education play within the framwork of those results?

Photo of Dr Brian Mawhinney Dr Brian Mawhinney , Peterborough

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for his kind remarks. In 1983–84, the last year for which I have figures, the percentage of all school leavers with one or more A-levels was 22·5 per cent. in Northern Ireland and 17·2 per cent. in England and Wales. The percentage of all school leavers with five or more O-levels or grade one CSEs was 8·7 per cent. in Northern Ireland and 10·7 per cent. in England and Wales.

Photo of Mr Peter Archer Mr Peter Archer , Warley West

May I seize the opportunity from the Opposition Benches to welcome the hon. Gentleman to the Dispatch Box and to wish him well.

Has he had time to become aware of the fact that the heads of schools in the area of the Belfast Education and Library Board have heard from the chief executive that, to reduce the amount spent on paying school cleaners, they must reduce the floor area they are using and lock up some of their classrooms? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the board has voted to suspend those measures for two weeks? Does he appreciate that the anguish is not about the form of the education service, but about its existence?

Photo of Dr Brian Mawhinney Dr Brian Mawhinney , Peterborough

I am grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for his kind personal remarks.

I am aware from the media that this discussion is taking place within the Belfast board. The board has not yet finalised how it should use the resources which have been made available to it. I have had no formal proposals yet from the board.