HC Deb 28 April 1955 vol 540 cc1053-4
23. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Education what proportions of local education areas had percentages of more than 50 and less than 20, respectively, of grammar to total secondary places, at the latest date for which figures are available.

Sir D. Eccles

In January, 1954, the percentages were 4.8 and 13.7 respectively. Such percentages do not, however, give a true picture of the opportunities open to children in different areas.

Mr. Swingler

How long does the Minister think it will take to bring up those areas where there is less than a 20 per cent. opportunity of grammar school education to the average of which he was speaking the other day? Will he say if it is his policy to encourage education authorities which now have more than 20 per cent. of places to try to increase them to 50 per cent.?

Sir D. Eccles

Obviously I cannot answer the first part of the hon. Member's supplementary question, because it will take a different time in each area. But the total provision of grammar school places is now increasing, and year by year the number of authorities which have less than 15 per cent. will decrease. The hon. Member asked what I would do in the case of those which already have 20 per cent. If they wish to go to 25 per cent. I shall be very pleased.

Miss Bacon

Has the attention of the right hon. Gentleman been drawn to the decision of the Peterborough education authority so to arrange things that the classes in grammar schools will remain as they are, and all the overcrowding due to increased numbers in the secondary schools will be in the modern schools, thereby decreasing the percentage of children going to grammar schools from 25 per cent. to 19 per cent.? What action does he propose to take with regard to such authorities which are thereby decreasing the percentage of those going to grammar schools?

Sir D. Eccles

I will look into that case and will write to the hon. Lady.