Not for the moment.
Earlier this week, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State was able to announce the approval of the 100th grant-maintained school, which is to start in September. In September 1989, there were only 18 grant-maintained schools. Already, the grant-maintained sector is growing and successful. More than 70,000 pupils will be walking through the gates of grant-maintained schools this September. More than 2,000 schools have expressed an interest in becoming grant-maintained, and more than 300 have balloted already.
Grant-maintained schools are successful and I shall quote their success with parents. Baverstock school in Birmingham received 350 applications for 210 places last year, an increase of 50 per cent. over the previous year. At Bullerswood school, Bromley, there has been a 79 per cent. increase in applications for places in the coming year.
Grant-maintained schools are also popular with heads. I quote the head teacher of Ecclesbourne school, who said:
I am handing more of the administration to my bursar and turning my mind back to education. I would not miss what is happening here for anything. It is the most professionally fulfilling period of my entire experience as a head.
The head teacher of Hendon school has said:
Grant-maintained status has enabled the more flexible use of funds, ensuring that all the school's resources are targeted on meeting its educational aims. It has been possible to redirect the funds previously required to sustain the LEA bureaucracy towards supporting the school curriculum.