School leaving age up by 1973
The school leaving age will be raised to 16 by 1973, said Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, Minister for Education, when she spoke to the Finchley group of the League of Jewish Women in the Finchley Synagogue, Kinloss Gardens, Church End Finchley, on Monday.
Mrs. Thatcher who was introduced by the chairman. Mrs. Malkah Sefton-Green, spoke on the work of the Cabinet, with special reference to education.
“Children won't necessarily learn the things you think you're teaching them,” said Mrs. Thatcher, when emphasising that teachers must learn how to teach. After parents, teachers were the second factor affecting the future of the nation.
It was a mistake to believe that education would solve all the problems of society. Attitudes and prejudices were too deeply entrenched to be overcome quickly. Education was a long process and we could not expect too much too soon.
On school-leaving she said she hoped to raise the leaving age to 16 by 1973, and on the subjects taught in schools, this was a matter for the head teacher not for the minister.
A minister should not have power over ideas, and she would not like to see over here a system as in France where all schools kept to the same curricula.
Mrs. Thatcher said she realised the need for more nursery schools. At present, concentration was on deprived areas. It cost £140 per year for each child in a nursery school, well over the amount for a child in a primary school.
Nursery schools, she said, must not be confused with day nurseries, which served a useful purpose for mothers at work. “But,” she concluded, “I would not like to see a nation of children who know only the day-nursery as home.”