HC Deb 01 December 1938 vol 342 cc589-90
61. Mr. Wakefield

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education the cost of the recently erected senior school at Stratton in the county of Wiltshire; and for how many pupils was provision made?

Mr. Lindsay

The estimated cost of the Upper Stratton Senior Council School was approximately £19,200, including £978 for furniture and equipment. It provided accommodation for 360 children.

Mr. Wakefield

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the number of pupils estimated for is far short of that number? Could steps be taken to see that a similar waste of taxpayer's money does not occur in other parts of the country?

Mr. Lindsay

I think there was a genuine over-estimate of the growth of the school population in that area. It is not always possible to estimate it exactly. As a matter of fact, if children are brought in from the neighbouring areas, the school will be completely filled.

Sir Louis Smith

Is my hon. Friend aware that there is a growing feeling in the country that estimates for additional schools are very much higher than are needed and accommodation is provided for considerably more children than will be forthcoming?

Captain P. Macdonald

Is it not a fact that in filling these schools, which are very expensive, other schools are being emptied, and that it is as important that these should be kept going as to have new schools?

Mr. Lindsay

This is a very large question, but I am not aware from my own experience that the two suggestions made by my hon. Friends have any real foundation. In most cases the closing up of small schools has finally resulted in economy. Schools with a very small number of children are often more expensive, quite apart from the great advantage which comes about from reorganisation.