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On June 13th, 1977 The Department of Education and Science issued a Circular on 'Falling Numbers and School Closures'. The programme looks at the formulation of the policy in this Circular by way o...f a number of filmed interviews of those concerned. Amongst those interviewed are officials from the Department of Education and Science, Miss Margaret Jackson, at the time Parliamentary Under Secretary, Alan Groves, Chief Education Officer, London Borough of Haringey and Councillor Nicky Harrison, Chairman of Haringey Education Committee. The programme not only looks at this policy formulation but at its reception in one local Authority.
Metadata describing this Open University video programme
Module code and title: E222, The control of education in Britain
Item code: E222; 01
First transmission date: 09-03-1979
Published: 1979
Rights Statement:
Restrictions on use:
Duration: 00:24:33
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Producer: Ken Little
Contributors: Alan Groves; N Harrison; M Jackson; R Jameson; Hugh Jenkins; Toby Weaver
Publisher: BBC Open University
Keyword(s): Department of Education and Science; Local Education Authorities
Footage description: Weaver opens the programme by describing DES concern about falling school population figures in the 1970's. Over an animated graph he describes changing predictions of future school population since 1955. Shots of children playing, over which he explains why a falling population raises acute problems. He also explains that the programme will examine the process by which the DES work out a public policy for the guidance of LEAs on the closure of schools. Interview with Richard Jameson, under-secretary at the DES, who in the early 1970s was head of the Branch responsible for schools. He explains how the policy that eventually resulted in 5/77 first came into being. Hugh Jenkins, Assistant Secretary at the DES, explains why a Circular was considered the best way to advise LEAs. Jameson explains why a ministerial speech was not made to publicise the need for school closures. He also explains why no action at all was taken between 1976 and 1977. Weaver introduces political considerations and interviews Margaret Jackson, Parliamentary Under Secretary at the DES. Jackson outlines the political problems related to publicising the need for school closures. Jameson then explains why the final draft of the Circular differed little from the original proposal. Jackson describes the changes she made to it. Jenkins explains how the circular was meant to assist LEA officials. Weaver describes the reaction of LEAs to falling school populations and introduces Alan Groves, Chief Education Officer for the London Borough of Haringey. Groves describes how the circular helped him in his proposals for school closures. He also describes the opposition he faced from local politicians. Weaver interviews Nicky Harrison, Chairman of Haringey Education Committee. She expresses reluctance to close any primary schools and describes the pressure local politicians face in such cases. Groves describes the position of the educational administrator who must deal with both DES and local opinion. Jameson argues that the whole Government decision making process is slow. Finally, Jackson argues that it is the DES politicians rather than the civil servants who control education policy. Weaver concludes by reviewing the whole programme. Shots of children playing, street scenes and schools.
Master spool number: 6HT/73014
Production number: 00525_6208
Videofinder number: 948
Available to public: no