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Education Reform

Volume 130: debated on Monday 21 March 1988

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To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, answering for the Church Commissioners, what representations the Church Commissioners have received on the implications for the area of the commissioners' responsibility of the Education Reform Bill.

Mr. Michael Alison
(Second Church Estates Commissioner, representing Church Commissioners)

The commissioners' involvement in the educational field is restricted to providing grants towards the stipends of chaplains in universities and polytechnics. They have received no representations on this matter.

Does my right hon. Friend agree that the popularity of denominational schools underlines the desire of parents for religious education based upon the scriptures? Does he also agree that religious education should be taught by those with a sense of conviction, and is he happy with the role of religious education, in the Education Reform Bill?

I am delighted that the Education Reform Bill retains the compulsory provision of the 1944 Act for religious education and introduces a new complaints procedure in relation to the supervision of that instructuon. I agree with my hon. Friend that, almost universally, parents want religious education and they want it to be predominantly Christian and scriptural. I note that there will be an opportunity to debate these matters in the course of the next two or three days.