DES Circular 10/70 (1970)

This circular was one of a series which dealt with the isssue of comprehensivisation. They were:

Circular 10/65: Harold Wilson's Labour government asked local education authorities to submit plans for reorganising their schools on comprehensive lines.

Circular 10/70: Edward Heath's Conservative government, with Margaret Thatcher as Education Secretary, allowed local authorities to decide whether or not to proceed with comprehensivisation, effectively cancelling Labour's Circular 10/65.

Circular 4/74: Harold Wilson's Labour government reinstated the requirement that local education authorities should submit plans for comprehensivisation.

Circular 11/76: Harold Wilson's Labour government explained that local authorities which had not submitted schemes for comprehensive reorganisation would now be expected to do so.

Circular 12/76: Harold Wilson's Labour government explained that arrangements made by local authorities with non-maintained schools must be 'consistent with the Government's policy of abolishing selection for secondary education'.

See also Circular 10/66 School building programmes.

The text of DES Circular 10/70 was prepared by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 14 July 2017.

Circular 10/70 (1970)
The Organisation of Secondary Education

Department of Education and Science
London: 1970
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

[page 1]

To Local Education Authorities
and the Governors of Direct
Grant, Voluntary Aided and
Special Agreement Schools

Circular 10/70
30 June 1970


All communications should be addressed to the PERMANENT UNDER-SECRETARY OF STATE


1. The Government's aim is to ensure that all pupils shall have full opportunities for secondary education suitable to their needs and abilities. The Government, however, believe it is wrong to impose a uniform pattern of secondary organisation on local education authorities by legislation or other means. Circular 10/65 is accordingly withdrawn. Consequential restrictions on the character of secondary building projects will no longer apply.

2. Authorities will now be freer to determine the shape of secondary provision in their areas. The Secretary of State will expect educational considerations in general, local needs and wishes in particular and the wise use of resources to be the main principles determining the local pattern. Recent rapid changes in secondary school organisation have in many areas imposed considerable strains within the education system. Where a particular pattern of organisation is working well and commands general support the Secretary of State does not wish to cause further change without good reason.

3. Authorities which have had reorganisation plans approved by the Department may either proceed to operate them unchanged or notify the Department of their wish to modify them. Those with plans currently lodged with the Department are invited to say whether they wish to have them further considered or to withdraw them. The Secretary of State will be pleased to consider any new plans which may be submitted. Officers of the Department will be available for consultation at any stage at which this would be helpful.

4. Whatever course local education authorities adopt the Secretary of State trusts that they will maintain close consultation with those representing the denominational and other voluntary schools in their area. Any proposed changes should also be discussed with the teachers. Full opportunities should be given to parents to make their views known before decisions are reached.

(Herbert Andrew)