HC Deb 28 July 1938 vol 338 c3288
43. Mr. Duncan

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education whether he is aware of the difficulty of modernising old schools owing to the permanent character of their construction; whether his attention has been called to the present practice of the London County Council of building new elementary schools of too permanent a character which will be difficult to modernise in the future; and, as it is important that improvements to schools should be made with the change of time, will he instruct his architects to issue a report on the matter which can be published and which will be a guide to local authorities in the future?

Mr. Lindsay

Owing to the necessarily restricted nature of the sites of schools in London, the buildings must generally be of two or more stories, and this involves construction of a substantial character. But I do not think that the London County Council in these circumstances build more solidly than do other local education authorities in similar circumstances. The desirability of fire-resisting construction for multi-storied buildings is also an important factor. As regards the possibility of lighter construction, I would refer my hon. Friend to the Board's Circular 1419 and to the remarks in Section 80 on pages 82–84 of Educational Pamphlet 107, copies of which I am sending him. The London County Council are, I understand, themselves at present conducting an inquiry into the possibility of light construction.

Mr. Duncan

Will my hon. Friend consider the desirability of asking his architects to report on the difference in the solidity of construction in London and in counties like Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire, where the construction is of a less permanent nature?

Mr. Lindsay

I will consider that point.

Mr. Day

Does the London County Council always consult the Department before this work is started?

Mr. Lindsay

indicated assent.