My hon. Friend will be glad to know that my constituents, particularly those who are parents at this school, will be pleased to hear that he will make a fast decision. He will be aware that the parents at the school voted by a ratio of nearly 3:1 for grant-maintained status. I am sure that he will wish to join me in congratulating the governors, the headmaster and the parents involved in the school on their wisdom in applying for grant-maintained status so as to free themselves from the bureaucracy and interference of the local education authority. Will he ensure that the decision that he makes is a positive one?
I have listened carefully to my hon. Friend. I stand by what I said—I shall do my utmost to get a decision by the end of February. I welcome the commitment that has been shown by the head of the governing body, but I cannot give any hint of the decision that I will be taking by the end of February.
Will the Minister have a care with Torrells school in view of the mistake that he made with Stratford school? Is he aware that Father Reilley, the chairman of the governors, has already been disposed of, that the new chairman had a brawl with the head teacher, to which the police had to be called, that the chairman has purported to sack the head teacher and that the Department has intervened and had correspondence and has appointed new governors? Do we have—
The hon. Gentleman probably needs a geography lesson. Stratford school is not in Essex, as he should know. With regard to what he said about Stratford school, if he had taken rather more interest in the school when it was in the control of Newham and insisted on the school keeping up to reasonable standards and if he now put pressure on Newham LEA to ensure that it raised standards in schools, he would be doing more for his constituents than he is by his performance today.