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Day Release

Volume 649: debated on Thursday 23 November 1961

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18.

asked the Minister of Education why the number of boys and girls aged between 15 and 17, released during the day for study, has declined since 1956–57; what percentage of that age group were day released in 1956–57, 1959–60 and 1960–61, respectively; and what steps he is taking to improve the situation.

The percentages for which the hon. Member asks were respectively 12·7, 10·9 and 11·9, but the number of students between 15 and 17 receiving day release rose by about 30,000 between 1956–57 and 1960–61. I hope that the proposals in the White Paper published this year will help to improve the situation, but the main obstacle is failure to appreciate the value of day release.

Is not this a further indication of the right hon. Gentleman's lack of grasp of this problem? If he cannot make county colleges compulsory, would not one way to help solve the difficulty be to ask local education authorities and technical colleges to appoint more organisers? If the right hon. Gentleman wants to deal with the matter on a voluntary basis, is it not necessary to provide the funds and the staff to get amongst industrialists?

The main cause of the trouble is that employers do not yet realise how valuable is day release.

When we last discussed this matter the Minister said that he was having discussions about it with employers and trade unions. When will he be in a position to come to the House and make a statement about those discussions?

When the study group on the difficulties of granting the right to young employees to claim release has finished its work. It is in discussion now.