Engagements

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 11:30 am on 21st March 2007.

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Photo of Tony Blair Tony Blair Prime Minister 11:30 am, 21st March 2007

Yes. In particular, obviously, we will keep the investment going in our schools and also in the apprenticeship programmes. We will make sure, as I think that my hon. Friend will find from later announcements, that we do even more to encourage young people to stay on at school and to go into proper training. Of course, it is important that we provide the proper training for them, and that is why the quadrupling of the number of apprenticeships since 1997 has been very important. I was told yesterday, when visiting the Department for Education and Skills, that more new schools have been built in the last five years than were built in the previous 25. Going round the country, I can see, as I am sure he can, how the programme for refurbishing and rebuilding every school in the country is not just doing wonders for pupils, but is making sure that our school results go up, so that, whereas in 1997 there were only about 80 schools with over 70 per cent. of pupils getting five good GCSEs, the figure is now over 600.

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cora paterson
Posted on 24 Mar 2007 2:03 pm (Report this annotation)

Where does the prime minister stand on the insistance of many local authorities in closing schools and selling the land for housing developments, hence causing problems in education places for our children in the future. My son's school is facing closure although 1000 new homes are planned to be built in our small town by 2008 the same year the school is due to close. Many of the developments are now being told that there will not be enough school spaces to accommodate the extra housing. Our Tory councillor who is on the strategy and planning committee is all for our school being closed but also is aware of the extra planned housing for the area. In the parents meeting it was pointed out that they had groomed the figures so that they didn't include the nursery unit and special needs unit that are in the school which meant that there were not over 70 spaces in the school but around 26 spaces. Many people sent in the forms objecting to the closure but it would appear the objections have been ignored and for many local authorities it would appear that "every penny counts, not every child matters!"