Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

Complete list of 8,000+ Thatcher statements & texts of many of them

1971 Jan 27 We
Margaret Thatcher

Speech to Esher Conservatives

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: St George’s Hill Lawn Tennis Club, Esher
Source: Esher and Molesey News and Advertiser
Editorial comments: Full text available on CD-ROM only; edited version available on the site, for reason of copyright. MT was addressing a Conservative Women’s lunch. Ted Short, Labour education spokesman, later claimed that this meeting was the beginning of a plot to undermine secondary reorganisation in Surrey ( Daily Telegraph , 20 November 1971).
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 398
Themes: Education, Primary education, Secondary education, Higher & further education, Public spending & borrowing

Mrs. Thatcher at Tory Women’s Lunch

[Text paraphrased for reason of copyright, other than direct quotes from MT herself, which are printed in full.]

Primary school buildings should not help teachers not challenge them, MT told 400 members and guests of the women’s advisory committee of the Esher Division Conservative Association last week.

In a short speech before rushing back to the Commons to vote on the Industrial Relations Bill, MT said that despite difficult economic situation, the Government was spending more money on improving primary schools than any before it.

“We in the Conservative Party believe that it is our job to give children the best possible start in life, so that when they are older, they are able to shoulder their own responsibilities,” she said.

More money was being spent throughout the education system, especially to accommodate increase in children staying at school after the compulsory leaving age, MT said.

She thought an extra year at school important for a child’s maturity and ability to adapt to the industry of the future. ‘O’ levels unlocked the door to the future, she added.

MT was adamant she did not intend to force any one particular pattern of education on local authorities.

She hoped Conservative education plans would create a generation with two characteristics: “People able to take the responsibility of their own actions, but responsive to the needs of others.”

Answering a question, MT said she thought the proposal of students being given a loan instead of an increased grant could prove workable in the case of post-graduates.

She reminded the audience that a student at present receiving a full grant was getting “very substantial free education.” A full grant totalled about £440, but the actual cost of educating a student for one year was more like £1,000, she said.

Mrs. Meg Fox, committee chairman, presided at the luncheon; a bouquet was presented to MT by Mrs. A. J. Speakman, (vice-chairman).