HC Deb 08 March 1938 vol 332 cc1719-20
71. Mr. W. Joseph Stewart

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education the number of elementary schools in England and Wales that were condemned by the Board's survey to be replaced; the number that have been replaced by new buildings; and the number that still remain to be dealt with?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Education (Mr. Kenneth Lindsay)

Six hundred and seventy-nine schools were originally placed in class A of the "Black List," that is, schools reported as unsuitable for continued recognition and incapable of improvement. Of these, 518 have already been dealt with by closure, replacement or reconstruction, and of the 145 still on the list, plans for the replacement or reconstruction of 29 have been approved by the Board. The future of these schools is intimately bound up with reorganisation, which is the main occupation of the Board and the local education authorities at the present time.

Mr. Stewart

Is the hon. Gentleman or the Board satisfied with the progress that has been made in the replacement of these schools?

Mr. Lindsay

No, Sir, not entirely. We are considering plans to the value of something like £200,000 a week for reorganisation, and I would like to urge all hon. Members to press their local authorities to finish these schools.

Mr. Rhys Davies

Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the number of these schools has increased or decreased?

Mr. Lindsay

They are definitely on the decrease.

Mr. Ede

Will the hon. Gentleman set a time limit by which these condemned schools must be dealt with?

Mr. Lindsay

I had thought of doing that, but this is so bound up with reorganisation that I think the best thing is to press forward with reorganisation as the quickest method of dealing with this problem.

Mr. Ede

Would it not help both if a time limit were put on, as it would compel the more reluctant authorities to reorganise?

Mr. Lindsay

Well, if it would, I should be glad to do it.