Speeches, Interviews & Other Statements

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

1974 Feb 25 Mo
Margaret Thatcher

Speech in Braintree

Document type: Speeches, interviews, etc.
Venue: Tabor High School, Panfield Lane, Braintree, Essex
Source: Thatcher Archive: CCOPR GE145/74
Editorial comments: 1700. The Chelmsford Weekly News, 28 February 1974, carries an excerpt from questions after the speech. Someone commented that they were worried about "Victorian Primary Schools like some in Braintree". MT said that she "bitterly regretted" that public spending cuts had brought about the delay. "Mrs Thatcher said a 15 month delay was likely before the replacement programme could get under way again. But she added: "I was the first Minister to have a replacement programme to cut".
Importance ranking: Major
Word count: 319
Themes: Education, Secondary education, General Elections, Labour Party & socialism, Liberal & Social Democratic Parties, Public spending & borrowing, Primary education

Educational policy may not seem to be playing a prominent part in the election campaign but it is a subject upon which electors and parents hold and express strong views. I believe that the majority of parents want:-

First to have a greater say in choosing their children's schools;

Second to see good schools retained and not changed for the sake of passing educational theories.

Third to see greater concern about standards. Parents want to know whether their children will be able to read, write and have a sound basis of numbers by the time they go to secondary school; parents want to know about the atmosphere in the secondary school—whether it will be conducive to helping the teachers to teach and the children to learn or if it will be disruptive and ill-disciplined so that teachers and pupils alike find it difficult to get the best out of school life.

The educational policies as set out in the three manifestos offer a clear choice. This is a choice between Conservative policies on the one hand and Liberal and Labour on the other hand because in vital areas the Liberal and Labour policies are evidently indistinguishable. Both are Socialist. Both would impose a fully comprehensive system on all our secondary schools. Both would therefore abolish all grammar and technical schools, whether voluntary aided or county and abolish direct grant schools.

Of the other points parental choice and its importance is given pride of place in the Conservative policy but it is not even mentioned in Liberal and Labour. And educational standard which Conservative believe to be so important receives the same scant treatment at the hands of the other Parties. [end p1]

The three policies of course do have a few things in common. It is good to see the Conservative policy for nursery schools copied by both the other parties.

The fact is that education is given very cursory treatment in all but the Conservative Manifesto.