North Devon (Secondary Education)

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 5th December 1968.

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Photo of Mr Peter Mills Mr Peter Mills , Torrington 12:00 am, 5th December 1968

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if he will make a statement on his decision on the plans for sixth form education reorganisation in North Devon;

(2) if, before reaching a decision on the North Devon reorganisation proposals for secondary education, he will give consideration to the effects of the proposals on various grammar schools in North Devon, particularly Bideford, Edgehill, Stella Maris Schools.

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

I have received no formal proposals for amendment of the plan approved in principle in 1966, but I know that the local education authority is reviewing the position.

Photo of Mr Peter Mills Mr Peter Mills , Torrington

There is serious and justified concern in the area at the removal of sixth-form education from the grammar schools and the effects which this may have. Will the right hon. Lady take into account the wishes of the people in the area and consult them thoroughly before any decision is made?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

Yes, Sir; in coming to a decision I shall take all opinion into consideration. I am sure that the hon. Gentleman understands that it is impossible for me to comment in detail on a plan which I have not yet received.

Photo of Mr Jeremy Thorpe Mr Jeremy Thorpe , North Devon

I share the views expressed by the hon. Member for Torrington (Mr. Peter Mills). Is the right hon. Lady aware that the reorganisation of sixth-form education is a matter which stirs up great controversy, and will she agree that when any scheme comes to her it is right that the governors, the teachers and the parents should all have had full opportunity to make their opinions known to the education authorities, and that it would be the view of her Department that this should have been done?

Photo of Miss Alice Bacon Miss Alice Bacon , Leeds South East

Yes, of course. I always want the full range of opinion to be taken into consideration, and we shall consider all that opinion before the decision is taken. But we have not yet received any formal request from Devon.

Photo of Mr Peter Mills Mr Peter Mills , Torrington

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. What protection have I, as a back-bencher, on the fact that Question 17 has nothing to do with Question 16? Can I have an answer to Question 17?

Photo of Dr Horace King Dr Horace King , Southampton, Itchen

Order. The hon. Gentleman has no protection whatever. The Minister has power to answer or not.