HC Deb 30 July 1953 vol 518 cc1522-3
27. Mr. Janner

asked the Minister of Education why she refused to approve the building of five of the eight schools included in the Leicester Education Committee's building programme for 1952–53, three out of the six in the 1953–54 programme and four out of the seven in the 1954–55 programme; and if she will reconsider these decisions owing to the increasing shortage of school places which will result from the curtailment of the building of new schools.

Miss Horsbrugh

With regard to the 1952–53 programme, I approved so much new school building as I considered necessary to meet the minimum needs set out in Circular 245. With regard to the 1953–54 programme, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer which I gave him on 23rd July. I am considering a recent request from the authority to review their 1954–55 programme.

Mr. Janner

Is the Minister aware that the 4,000 places to which she referred in a previous answer to me are not adequate to cover the needs of children requiring school places? Is she aware that there was a large increase in the birthrate from 1944 to 1948, and that there are about 2,150 children who will not be provided for, and who will have to travel a considerable distance to get to school? Will she reconsider this matter, which is a serious one in Leicester?

Miss Horsbrugh

I am considering the recent request from the authority about the 1954–55 programme but in some cases, as is laid down in Circular 245, if there is room in neighbouring schools transport must be provided to take these children to those schools.

Mr. Callaghan

Is the Minister in favour of the imposition of a colour bar in those schools, and, if not, why did she not have the courage to speak out in answering the previous Question?

Miss Horsbrugh

I have the courage to speak, but, at the same time, when I am asked about the recognition of efficiency I must stick to my statutory duties. I object to the colour bar, but that has nothing to do with efficiency of education.

35. Mr. Bowden

asked the Minister of Education why she has refused permission to the Leicester education authority to proceed with the proposal to build the Overdale Road junior school; and if she will reconsider the position, in view of the need for junior school places in this area of Leicester.

Miss Horsbrugh

On the first part of this Question, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Leicester, North-West (Mr. Janner) on 23rd July. I am considering a recent request by the local education authority that I should review their 1954–55 programme, in which they proposed to build the Overdale Road School.

Mr. Bowden

Will the Minister bear in mind that the 480 children for whom this school was to cater will now have to be scattered over a wide area, which will involve transport and considerable expense, and that in Leicester generally the position is such that there is overcrowding in almost all schools? Does the right hon. Lady not realise that there is a limit even to the number of sardines one can get into a tin?

Miss Horsbrugh

I have already informed the hon. Gentleman that I am discussing this proposal with the authority.

Forward to