HC Deb 08 February 1962 vol 653 cc609-10
34. Miss Lee

asked the Minister of Education if he is aware of the unsettling effect of the frequent change of school accommodation experienced by many of the younger children of Ashmore Park Estate, Wednesfield, Staffordshire; and, in view of the fact that this is an overspill area where the child population is growing rapidly, why provision has not been made for adequate up-to-date school accommodation.

Sir D. Eccles

I am aware of the needs of Ashmore Park, and have approved new primary schools to provide 1,120 additional places. The building of two of the new schools is still delayed by difficulties of site acquisition. Meanwhile, one new school on the estate has opened and the authority has provided temporary classrooms at existing schools. It also provides free transport for children who have to attend schools off the estate.

Miss Lee

Is the Minister aware that his free transport has had to be used to take children as young as seven years of age to three different schools, and that he has not answered my Question? I have asked him why he has failed to provide accommodation. Is he aware that he has had ten years to do this? He knows that this is an overspill new housing estate, with a lot of young children. Is he not ashamed of the priorities of the last ten years, under which money and materials have been spent on issues very much less necessary, and when he is still telling me what he is going to do and not what he has done?

Sir D. Eccles

This is an unfortunate case, because the sites could not be acquired voluntarily and the compulsory purchase order is, unfortunately, now subject to an action in the High Court, and, therefore, sub judice. I hope that it will not be too long before the sites can be acquired.

Mr. Stonehouse

Is the Minister aware that there is a great deal of concern about the inadequate building allocations of the Staffordshire County Council? In view of this concern, will he agree to receive a deputation to discuss the matter with him?

Sir D. Eccles

That is another question. I cannot see every local education authority on the subject of its building allocations. As the hon. Member knows, it is the practice not to do so.