HC Deb 04 April 1944 vol 398 cc1972-3

An independent denominational secondary school not receiving a grant from the Board of Education or from the local education authority, but which the Minister is satisfied could have qualified as a non-provided school had there been provision for the maintenance by local educational authorities of non-provided secondary schools prior to the passing of this Act may nevertheless be considered as a controlled or aided auxiliary school under the terms of this Act.—[Sir Austin Hudson.]

Brought up, and read the first time.

Sir Austin Hudson (Hackney, North)

I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

I want to try to get an undertaking from the Minister to bring in a school which is, I believe, unique. It is the Jewish secondary school at North Hackney and Stoke Newington, which has now been evacuated. It was in comparatively unsuitable premises before the war, and for that reason was unable to qualify as an aided school. It has had a great deal of Jewish money spent on it—something like £100,000. Immediately the war is over, the Jewish community—it is the only higher school of the Jewish community—want to rebuild it. The only way, it seems to us, in which we could get this school in under the Bill was to put down a new Clause. I agree that the Minister will not be able to accept it in its present terms, but I should appreciate from him an undertaking that when this school, which is unique, is rebuilt after the war, it will be able if possible to qualify for the 50 per cent. grant. I can assure him that the members of the Jewish community will find the other 50 per cent. Since the war started, it has been doing good work and has had a capitation fee from the Government for refugees. It has an excellent educational history behind it, with 90 per cent. successes. If the Minister will look sympathetically on this new Clause, or tell me where in the Bill I can bring the school in, I shall be more than obliged.

Mr. Butler

There has never been anything to prevent a secondary school applying for recognition as a grant-aided school. It would be impossible to accept a Clause which gives special treatment to one particular type of secondary school. I will try to relieve my hon. Friend's mind. I am aware of the school and the excellent principles of the school, and would not like to do anything to prejudice it in any way, but would rather encourage the hon. Member and his friends. All secondary schools which, in the past, have been aided by local education committees with deficiency grants will, if they wish to become auxiliary schools, have to apply under Sub-section (3) of Clause 12. A school such as the hon. Member has in mind would under that provision be able to apply for grant. It would have to give notice of the proposal, and before accepting any school not previously recognised as a grant-aided secondary school we should have to be satisfied that in regard to its premises and in other respects it is satisfactory. This would apply equally to the school which the hon. Member has in mind. Sympathetic consideration will be given to any proposal that may be put forward in regard to this school or others in similar circumstances. It should be borne in mind that under Clause 10 the local education authority, in preparing their development plan, have to consider which schools are necessary. In this case it would be an auxiliary school concerned and the local education authority would have to consider which schools are necessary as auxiliary schools. In the circumstances, the best advice I can give the hon. Member is to advise his friends to get in touch with the local education authority in whose area the school is situated so that at an early date they may stake out a claim for their school, which is one well known to the Board.

Sir A. Hudson

I am much obliged to the Minister, and in the circumstances I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Motion.

Motion and Clause, by leave, withdrawn.