HC Deb 08 February 1951 vol 483 cc1920-1
29. Mr. Odey

asked the Minister of Education whether, in view of the many instances where children have long distances to go to school, and the detrimental effect on village community life, he will now reconsider the general policy of closing village schools.

Mr. Tomlinson

I have laid down no such policy. Under Section 13 of the Education Act, 1944, a proposal by a local education authority to cease to maintain a school involves the issue of public notices, with the possibility of an appeal to me. I should not approve any such proposal unless, after considering all the circumstances, and, in particular, the best interests of the children, I was satisfied that the proposal was justified.

Mr. Odey

Will the right hon. Gentleman bear in mind that, in rural areas like the East Riding of Yorkshire, where a large number of village schools have been closed, it is not only the distance that children have to travel to new schools but a question of the danger from the traffic on country roads where there are no footpaths? Will he also bear in mind the position of Low Cattan, about which I have sent him some particulars and about which I propose to send him further information?

Mr. Tomlinson

All these things are taken into consideration as and when a decision is taken. I would point out to the hon. Member that, in the case of the school he has mentioned, and particulars of which he sent me, and which was closed in 1928, a good deal of revision would be needed before I altered my opinion in that connection.