HC Deb 24 March 1960 vol 620 cc653-4
14. Mr. Dance

asked the Minister of Education whether in view of the large annual increase in the number of school- children in the Redditch district and the fact that little building work was carried out in the inter-war years, he will reconsider his decision not to allow the replacement of sub-standard primary school premises in the district in the county education authority's building programme.

The Minister of Education (Sir David Eccles)

The authority put forward one project for this purpose for 1960–62, but it had to give place to more urgent proposals. I am prepared to consider proposals for future years.

Mr. Dance

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask whether he is aware that from 1954 to the present day the population of Redditch has increased by 3,000 and that, as a result, the number of children at school has increased at the rate of 200 a year? As this is causing such disturbance in the minds of educationists in the district, will he please give sympathetic consideration to the problem in the near future?

Sir D. Eccles

I will, because the information which my hon. Friend has just given me is not quite the same as mine, which is that the number of primary school pupils in Redditch has remained comparatively stable. I will look into the question again.

Mr. Anthony Greenwood

Does not the Minister realise that his refusal to allow local education authorities to proceed with schemes which they themselves believe to be within their competence during a given period makes it much more difficult to achieve his declared intention of recruiting teachers and getting rid of over-sized classes?

Sir D. Eccles

Questions such as that which I have just answered arise because we are now planning much further ahead, and it is therefore quite reasonable for local authorities to present to me several years' programmes in one. That is why I have to tell them that they cannot do it all in the initial period.