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Public Schools

Volume 650: debated on Thursday 30 November 1961

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asked the Minister of Education if he will give the approximate number of boys from State schools who have entered public schools during the past five years with the aid of bursaries or scholarships granted by local education authorities; and how many of these boys lived in the administrative county of Essex.

In March, 1961, 9,700 boys attending independent schools had their fees paid in full by local education authorities: of these 1,100 came from Essex. I have no separate figures for public schools apart from other independent schools.

Is it not true that only a minority of scholars from State schools enter the big public schools, which seems to indicate that the alleged traditional benefit of public school education, particularly with regard to professional employment later on, is reserved for a minority whose parents can afford to send them there?

I would take the view that in the grammar schools under the maintained system and in the direct grant schools excellent preparation for careers can be obtained.

Would the right hon. Gentleman find out exactly what percentage in the more prominent public schools comes from State schools of one kind or another?

The fact is that I do not know what a public school is: no one has been able to provide me with a satisfactory definition.