Student Grants

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 19th January 1988.

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Photo of Mrs Alice Mahon Mrs Alice Mahon , Halifax 12:00 am, 19th January 1988

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will amend the student awards regulations so that married women are no longer dependent on their husband's income for grant purposes; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Jackson:

No. The Government consider that, where the husband or wife of a student has the means to contribute to the student's maintenance costs, it would be wrong to increase the share of those costs which is borne by the taxpayer.

Photo of Mrs Alice Mahon Mrs Alice Mahon , Halifax

Does the Minister realise that the discriminatory nature of the present system prevents many mature women from returning to higher education? Does he not think that it is time for a change in the present system?

Mr. Jackson:

I must point out to the hon. Lady that there has been a substantial increase in the number of women university students between 1979 and 1986, from 38 to 42 per cent. It is a basic principle of the system of attainment targets and programmes of study to bear in mind that the curriculum should provide equal opportunities for boys and girls and to consider In their work the expectations and aptitudes of girls with regard to those subjects.

Photo of Mr Nicholas Bennett Mr Nicholas Bennett , Pembroke

Does my hon. Friend agree that what is important about children's examination results is not the gender of the children but the authority to whose schools they go? Some of the highest spending authorities in this country have the worst examination results.

Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford

My hon. Friend is entirely right. Our proposals in the Education Reform Bill will, of course, bite on all education authorities, irrespective of their political nature.

Following is the information: Information is not available in the form requested. The proportion of school leavers in England who had gained a higher grade at O-level or CSE in mathematics, physics or CDT and other science is shown in the following table:

student support, which is of course being reviewed by a committee that I am chairing, that the family should support the student, whether it is the parents or the spouse.