HC Deb 11 June 1953 vol 516 cc422-3
2. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Education if she is aware of the need for the provision of grammar schools in Bexley and Erith so as to enable a reasonable number of pupils now in Dartford primary schools to be assured of secondary education in the borough in the next few years; and what action she proposes to take to deal with the problem.

Miss Horsbrugh

The need to increase grammar school provision in North-West Kent as a whole has been apparent for some time. The Kent local education authority started work on the building of a new grammar school in Erith in October, 1952, and included in their 1953–54 building programme the first instalment of a new grammar school in Bexley. The Dartford and the Gravesend grammar schools for boys will each admit an additional 30 boys at the age of 11 next September.

Mr. Dodds

Is the right hon. Lady aware that a much higher standard is required for boys and girls in the Dartford constituency than for boys and girls in constituencies in North-West Kent? Why should the boys and girls of Bromley and Beckenham, represented by her two right hon. Friends, get grammar school places with marks which would spell failure for boys and girls in the Dartford constituency?

Miss Horsbrugh

The hon. Gentleman will realise that the provision we now have depends entirely upon the schools built or started by the last Government. We have started schools since then, and when these two schools in Erith and Bexley are finished they will provide 1,000 new places.

3. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Education if she is aware of the concern arising from the fact that the number of places available for secondary education in schools in the Dartford borough compares unfavourably with places available in other parts of Kent; and what action is to be taken to correct this tendency, which will worsen if no special efforts are forthcoming.

Miss Horsbrugh

I understand that there has been some local demand for more places in selective secondary schools for children from Dartford. The education authority propose to enlarge the Dartford secondary technical schools for boys and girls in their building programme for 1954–55.

With regard to grammar schools, I would refer the hon. Member to the answer to his previous Question.