HC Deb 01 December 1955 vol 546 cc2498-9
34. Mr. de Freitas

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many approved schools have been closed this year; and how many he expects will be closed next year.

Major Lloyd-George

Action has been taken this year to close eight approved schools which are surplus to requirements; five will close in December, and the rest early in 1956. While the future demand for places in approved schools cannot be foreseen, no further closing of schools is in prospect at present.

Mr. de Freitas

Is the Home Secretary in close touch with the Ministers of Education and of Health to see that any suitable schools are taken over as going concerns for the education of handicapped children, etc.? That would not involve legislation.

Major Lloyd-George

No. The Ministers of Education and of Health are kept constantly informed of the position and every one of these schools has been looked at by those two Departments.

Mr. Alport

Would my right hon. and gallant Friend say whether the reduction in demand for places in approved schools is due to a decrease in juvenile delinquency or to a change in the policy of juvenile court magistrates towards commitment to approved schools?

Major Lloyd-George

I am glad to say it is due largely to the decrease in juvenile delinquency.

Mr. Ede

Could the Home Secretary say how many of these eight schools are to be taken over by the Ministers of Health or of Education or by local authorities acting on their behalf?

Major Lloyd-George

I think I am right in saying that, of the eight, six are being investigated, and I think that a local education authority is negotiating for the seventh.