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Royal Commission

Volume 720: debated on Thursday 18 November 1965

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will recommend the appointment of a Royal Commission to report upon all aspects of education in this country involving costs, supply of teachers, teacher training, ages of pupils, nursery schools, and the wage structure of the teaching profession.

No, Sir. The needs and problems of the education service are already well known. On the specific points mentioned in the Question, present and future costs and resources are analysed in the National Plan. The supply of teachers and teacher training was exhaustively considered in the Ninth Report of the National Advisory Council. Ages of pupils and nursery schools are now being examined by the Plowden Council. The wage structure was the subject of a recent arbitration award. The appointment of a Royal Commission on education would add nothing to our knowledge; and while it sat I should have to defer many vital and urgent decisions.

Would it not be better to have a comprehensive inquiry of this kind in public where all up-to-date views can be presented? Has the Secretary of State anything to hide on this matter?

No. I think the education service, if anything, is rather over-inquired into. What we need now is not more inquiries but policies and action there.