HC Deb 05 July 1951 vol 489 cc2481-3
30. Mr. Messer

asked the Minister of Education if he is aware that the decision of the Middlesex County Council to close the Hornsey County School is strongly opposed by the parents of the pupils now at the school; that if the decision is upheld it will seriously deplete the number of grammar school places in Tottenham and Harringay; and if, in consequence of the serious consequences of the proposal, he will withhold consent until he has held an inquiry.

Mr. Hardman

The Middlesex Local Education Authority have submitted to my right hon. Friend a proposal to cease to maintain the Hornsey County School and they issued the necessary public notices on 18th May. Objections to the proposal have been received and will be carefully considered before a decision is reached. It would not be proper for me to express any opinion about the proposal until the period for the publication of the notices has expired.

Mr. Messer

In view of the exceptional nature of the step which the County Council proposed to take, would my hon. Friend ensure that there will be adequate inquiry, even to the extent of receiving a deputation, if led by the Member of Parliament for Hornsey (Mr. Gammans) and myself?

Mr. Hardman

I am not in a position to say that a local inquiry must be held. We cannot make such a decision until the expiry of the notices on 18th August.

Mr. Gammans

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that a petition signed by more than 10,000 people has been forwarded to the Minister, protesting against this action? In view of that fact, is not the Minister at least under a moral obligation at this stage to give a promise to hold an inquiry?

Mr. Hardman

We are bound by the notices, which run until 18th August. My right hon. Friend cannot at the moment give a decision because he is bound by the fact that 18th August is the expiry date.

Mr. H. Hynd

The Minister has mentioned the decision of the local education committee. Is he aware that in this case the majority opinion on the local education committee is merely an automatic echo of the opinion on the Middlesex County Council? Will he have regard to that fact in deciding whether to hold a local inquiry?

Mr. Hardman

Yes, Sir. Due attention will be paid to representations on both sides.