HC Deb 06 December 1962 vol 668 cc1478-9
13. Sir P. Agnew

asked the Minister of Education what consideration he has given to the future availability of places in grammar schools for boys and girls, respectively, in Malvern and West Worcestershire; what proposals he has received from the Worcestershire Education Authority for the building of a new grammar school in that area or the enlargement and modernisation of the school at Hanley Castle; and if he will make a statement.

Sir E. Boyle

I understand that the Worcestershire local education authority is reviewing the whole question of grammar school places for Malvern and the surrounding districts but that it will need firmer indications of future population than are yet available before it can reach conclusions. In these circumstances the authority has not submitted to me any grammar school proposals for the 1964–65 school building programme.

Sir P. Agnew

Is my right hon. Friend aware that it may be some time before the future population trends in that part are known, owing to the delay in deciding on the future local government organisation, the building of new towns, and overspills, and the like? Is he aware that, if the decision upon whether there are to be enough grammar school places in the area for the children that are there now is to wait upon all that, there will be very grave frustration and many children who would be deserving of places will not be able to obtain them? Will my right hon. Friend therefore urge the Worcester education authority to come to a decision and ask for his approval on it?

Sir E. Boyle

I am sure that the authority will take notice of what my hon. Friend has said. I will certainly keep in touch with the authority about this, though it is for the authority in the first instance to make proposals. It is fair to say that the general secondary school at Malvern covers a very wide field of abilities. I have visited it. It is an excellent school. My hon. Friend is quite right in saying that one must bear in mind those children who can gain from the atmosphere of a grammar school. I will certainly think over what is said and consider whether there is any action I can properly take.