asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will advance the starting date of the conversion of the Chase Terrace secondary modern school, Staffordshire, to a six-form comprehensive school, in view of the rapidly increasing population, including overspill and private development, and the limited share of grammar school places received by pupils in the area concerned, and in the light of the recommendation in 1960 by Her Majesty's Inspector.
My right hon. Friend can make no additions to the major school building programme for 1965–66, which is fully committed. He is quite willing to consider a proposal from the Staffordshire authority to exchange the Chase Terrace project which is in its 1966–67 programme for any other in its 1965–66 programme of the same value.
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that this is absolutely unreasonable and that there is some evidence to suggest that there has not been a recent survey of the number of children in this area following the arrival of large numbers of overspill population? In view of this, is he aware that there is no freedom of choice at all for children who have achieved good results in the 11-plus examination and there is considerable frustration as a result of the tardy programme for the establishment of this comprehensive school?
Am I to take it from the Minister's reply that he is offering our local authority a choice of projects and that if it gives up something which is already included in the proposed building programme it can substitute something in its stead? After hearing all the representations made to him from the county and constituency level and knowing that this is an expanding area with considerable overspill populations, is this all that he can offer us?
I can assure the hon. Lady that the figures that the local education authority has collected have been very carefully studied by my right hon. and learned Friend, but the 1965–66 programme is now fully committed and it is not possible to add further projects in that particular area.