§ 35. Mr. Hannan
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will establish a separate branch of the Education Department in which architects, administrators and inspectors will work together as a team to co-ordinate the efforts of the local authorities and quicker approval of school building projects.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
There is already in the Education Department a separate branch which has a building development team composed of architects, administrators and inspectors to give general guidance to education authorities about school building. Quicker approval of building projects is normally obtained by informal consultation between the architects, and in some areas a joint working party of technical officers and administrators has been set up by the Department and the education authority to keep the building programme under frequent review. These arrangements are working reasonably well and my right hon. Friend does not propose to change them.
§ Mr. Hannan
Is the hon. Gentleman aware that the suggestion in this Question is one of the recommendations of the Select Committee on Estimates in their eighth Report on education? Can he say whether the frustrating and irritating delays which occurred in sanctioning of plans for schools because of plans being passed backwards and forwards between Government Departments and local authorities is now being cut down?
§ Mr. Stewart
We are endeavouring ail the time to cut down any unnecessary 1751 red tape. I can assure the hon. Member that we are giving special attention to the matter.
§ 36. Mr. Hannan
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action he proposes to take in respect of recommendation 19 of the eighth Report of the Select Committee on Estimates that Scottish local authorities should be given the same power as English and Welsh local authorities to co-opt teachers for consultation in respect of design and planning of new schools.
§ Mr. Henderson Stewart
In Circular 268 of 13th June, 1953, my right hon. Friend advised education authorities to obtain advice on the planning of schools from experienced teachers. As regards the co-option of teachers to education committees, I have nothing to add to the reply which I gave on 26th January to the hon. Member for Stirling and Falkirk Burghs (Mr. Malcolm MacPherson).