Selective Secondary Schools (Kent)

Oral Answers to Questions — Education and Employment – in the House of Commons at 1:51 pm on 26th February 1997.

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Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford 1:51 pm, 26th February 1997

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what plans she has to visit schools in the county of Kent in order to discuss the future of selective secondary provision. [16067]

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

My right hon. Friend has no immediate plans, but I shall be making one of my regular school visits tomorrow, when I will visit three schools in Kent, including Chatham boys' grammar school.

Photo of Mr Bob Dunn Mr Bob Dunn , Dartford

When my hon. Friend the Minister is visiting schools in Kent, will he take the opportunity to remind them that Kent's selective system is guaranteed only so long as there is a Conservative Government, or a Conservative-controlled county council based at Maidstone? The current Labour-controlled county council would close our grammar schools tomorrow because, in its orthodoxy, it owes more to Joe Stalin than to the cosmetic changes patched on to the Labour party in recent years.

Photo of Mr Robin Squire Mr Robin Squire , Hornchurch

Of all the somersaults on education policy that we have had visited upon us by the Labour party in recent years, none is less credible than its statement that grammar schools are somehow safe in its hands. Throughout the years that I have been a Member of Parliament, and before, leaders of Labour-controlled councils and chairmen of education across the country have assured us that grammar schools will go if and when there is a Labour Government. Labour's current position is almost as if a crocodile came up to you, Madam Speaker, and said that it was now a vegetarian. You might believe that there is a faint theoretical possibility that it is telling the truth, but you would not shake its hand, and you would not turn your back on it.

Photo of Miss Betty Boothroyd Miss Betty Boothroyd Speaker of the House of Commons

On that note, we come to the end of Question Time. Thank you.