Factories off bounds for girls

9th January 1998 at 00:00
The chief inspector of factories stopped girls from Govan secondaries gaining shopfloor experience in Glasgow in the mid-1960s. Despite a fierce exchange between the Scottish Education Department and the factory inspectorate, which came under the Ministry of Labour, it took more than four years to amend legislation.

The issue blew up after Govan area youth employment office sought permission for girls in their final weeks of schooling to gain experience in local factories. They were aged 15 and in third year.

The chief inspector of factories cited the 1920 Employment of Women, Young Person's and Children Act and said there were "grave disadvantages".

Scottish Office civil servants replied: "It is, however, Government policy to bring schools and industry as close together as possible, to encourage the schools to develop courses for their pupils which will have a local industrial colour, and to encourage young people who are about to leave school to learn as much as possible of a practical way of the work on which they will soon enter."

This cut no ice and neither did the Brunton report, published in 1963, which backed improved links between school, further education and industry.

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