HC Deb 01 August 1946 vol 426 cc1220-1
69. Brigadier Rayner

asked the Minister of Education whether she has approved of the scheme of the Devon County local education authorities, under which it is proposed to close a number of village schools in the Totnes area, as this decision will subject children of five years of age to a long daily omnibus journey; and if she will reconsider this matter.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Education (Mr. Hardman)

I have not received the proposals to which I understand the hon. and gallant Member refers. Suggestions for the closure of a number of schools in the Totnes area were made in a report published in June, 1945, as a basis for discussion in preparing the development plan for the area. I understand that the Devon authority themselves are still surveying the schools in question, but they have not yet formulated proposals affecting them for inclusion in the development plan.

Brigadier Rayner

Is the Minister aware that a good many mothers object to their small children having a long journey every day? Is he also aware that in the past village schools have achieved a larger proportion of scholarship successes than the town ones; and that L.C.C. evacuees during the war proved to be about a year behind their village contemporaries? Will the Minister reconsider his policy in regard to the closing of village schools?

Mr. Hardman

My right hon. Friend and myself have every sympathy with the village schools. All we want to do is to reorganise them and bring them up to date. As regards the first part of the Question, I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the fact that managers of voluntary schools can appeal against any closure proposal that may be made.