Secondary School Improvements (London)

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 14th December 1972.

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Photo of Mr Nigel Spearing Mr Nigel Spearing , Acton 12:00 am, 14th December 1972

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what amounts of money she expects to permit the inner London education authorities to spend on improvements to secondary schools within the terms of her White Paper, "A Framework for Educational Expansion".

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

All local education authorities have been asked for their proposals. It is too early to say how the resources will be distributed.

Photo of Mr Nigel Spearing Mr Nigel Spearing , Acton

But does not the Minister recall that on 6th December he told us that London's share might, with luck, be £1½ million for the two years 1975–1977? If he agrees that that is so, does he not think it disgraceful that over a period of two years inner London will receive only about half as much as the sum that this House, by a disreputable political manoeuvre, was asked to expend on the car park outside? Are not he and his hon. Friends ashamed of this imbalance of expenditure?

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

The whole of educational expenditure is a matter of priorities. Government policy has been to give priority to the replacement of out-of-date primary schools. However, we can now move on to replacing out-of date secondary schools. We have allotted an extra budget of £18 million for the improvement and replacement of secondary schools in the years 1975–76 and 1976–77. I did not commit myself to the precise figures that the hon. Gentleman quoted. I well recall his contribution to the debate, which was very fierce. I can say that London will get its fair share.

Photo of Mr Timothy Raison Mr Timothy Raison , Aylesbury

When considering secondary improvements in inner London, will my hon. Friend try to prod the Inner London Education Authority into moving away from its excessive commitment to all-through, 11–18 secondary schools?

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

I am in constant consultation with the authority on all subjects within my sphere of responsibility. I shall pay particular attention to that point.

Photo of Mr Peter Hardy Mr Peter Hardy , Rother Valley

The Minister spoke of 18 million in a few years. Can he tell us the average price of a new secondary school, and how many schools and places that very meagre figure will provide?

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

I cannot, but I shall send the hon. Gentleman the figures.

Photo of Mr John Hill Mr John Hill , South Norfolk

If the Inner London Education Authority is anxious to find more money for improvements to secondary schools, is there anything to prevent it from selling a surplus site and using the profits for those improvements?

Photo of Mr Nigel Spearing Mr Nigel Spearing , Acton

Yes—overcrowded schools.

Photo of Mr Norman St John-Stevas Mr Norman St John-Stevas , Chelmsford

I am sure that the authority will take note of my hon. Friend's suggestion.