1. Mr. J. E. B. Hill
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether, in setting up the commission on the public schools, he will have consultations, formal or informal, with the joint working party of the Headmasters' Conference and the Governing Bodies Association, especially with regard to the terms of reference of the commission and the appointment of its chairman.
§ The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Anthony Crosland)
No, Sir. The terms of reference of the Commission and the choice of chairman are matters for which I must take responsibility.
Would it not be wise and timely, and a matter of great educational importance, for the Secretary of State to have some discussions, without committing himself, with the duly authorised representatives of the schools most concerned, who are as anxious as he is to get a Commission which will be well regarded in the educational world? In any event, may we take it that the Commission's terms of reference will include the direct grant schools?
§ Mr. Crosland
The Headmasters' Conference and the Governing Bodies Association have both been good enough to put to me in writing certain views about the terms of reference, as have many other people and bodies, including many hon. Members. It would be wrong, in a case like this, for any Government to indulge in a round of consultations either about the terms of reference or the identity of the chairman. This must remain a matter for the Government.
§ Mr. Crosland
I hope to make an announcement shortly. I have not yet a clear view on the subject of a White Paper. The question of a debate is one for my right hon. Friend the Leader of the House.