HC Deb 16 November 1961 vol 649 cc650-1
13. Mr. J. P. W. Mallalieu

asked the Minister of Education what plans he has for the development of weekly boarding secondary schools in country districts where at present transport difficulties prevent after school activities and interfere with homework.

The Minister of Education (Sir David Eccles)

I recognise how beneficial weekly boarding can be, but it is expensive to provide, and at present priority must in general be given to the provision of day school places.

Mr. Mallalieu

Is the Minister aware that in some country districts the problem is becoming very acute? Is it not a good idea to plan ahead? Has he any plans? If so, what are they? Will he tell us?

Sir D. Eccles

If any local authority likes to submit a plan to me, of course I look at it. Where these weekly boarding schools exist—it is certainly so in my own county—they are of very great value. I hope that the time will not be too distant before we can do something about it.

Mrs. White

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in respect of Wales some of Her Majesty's inspectors are very much concerned about the problem, especially in the upper forms of grammar schools? Can he be a little more flexible about it? Is he aware that some students are missing opportunities of adequate science-teaching, for example, because they have no arrangements of this kind?

Sir D. Eccles

Yes, Sir; I agree. I think that these will be a very valuable addition to boarding schools in these areas. That certainly is the case with the one in my own village. That is why I know about it. I hope that local authorities will submit some plans, but I cannot promise them priority.

Mrs. White

What about taking over a public school or two?