State Boarding Schools

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Science – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th March 1984.

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Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham , North West Norfolk 12:00 am, 6th March 1984

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many state boarding schools there are in Norfolk.

Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford

Only one maintained school in Norfolk, Wymondham college, makes provision for boarding pupils.

Photo of Henry Bellingham Henry Bellingham , North West Norfolk

My hon. Friend will be aware that Wymondham college is the subject of a consultative paper issued by Norfolk county council. I stress that this business is still the subject of consultation, but is my hon. Friend aware of Wymondham college's excellent academic record and its tremendous reputation? Does he agree that the pursuit of excellence should be afforded every priority?

Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford

I understand that Norfolk local education authority is consulting locally about the future of Wymondham college. If it concludes that the school should be closed or that boarding be discontinued, it will need to publish statutory proposals which it will fall to my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State to consider on their merits and in the light of any objections that are made.

Photo of Mr Patrick Thompson Mr Patrick Thompson , Norwich North

Will my hon. Friend encourage Norfolk county council, in any ways that he can, to use imagination as it discusses these matters with those who are looking for a future role for Wymondham college because they recognise the value of the college's tremendous achievements? Like the vast majority of right hon. and hon. Members, they recognise the value of the tradition of excellence in any state school or college.

Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford

The House will note my hon. Friend's comments. He will know, however, that the local authority might well make proposals that will come before my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. I cannot therefore comment on the merits of any proposal.

Photo of Mr John Powley Mr John Powley , Norwich South

I thank my hon. Friend for his informative answers to my hon. Friends. If the proposals to change the status of the college come before my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State, will he also take into account the alternative proposals that are being formulated by the parents of the children who go to Wymondham college, as they are doing constructive work to help maintain the college?

Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford

As reasonable people, we are always prepared to listen to anything advanced by any group of people.