§ 24. Mr. J. E. B. Hill
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what factors led him to decide against introducing a single school leaving date.
§ Mr. Edward Short
The Government had two considerations particularly in mind: the difficulties of absorption if all leavers came on to the labour market at the same time; and that the combined 1654 effect of raising the leaving age to 16 and introducing a single leaving date would oblige some pupils to remain at school until they were nearly 17 and would be too drastic a change to make within a very short period.
§ Mr. Marks
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the single certificate leaving date applies to almost every other form of education except those who leave school at the earliest possible date? If industry can be organised to receive annually people from universities, grammar schools, and those with O-levels, it ought to be organised to receive the rest.
§ Mr. Short
I agree with that. As I say, I hope that we can work towards this change, but if it were done now I am sure it would be the less able pupils who would suffer. If all the pupils were put on the labour market at the same time, these pupils would probably be the ones who would be left behind in the struggle to get employment.