HC Deb 21 February 1963 vol 672 cc624-5
22. Sir S. Storey

asked the Minister of Education how he proposes to provide adequate school facilities for children living on the Woodhouse Estate, Urmston; and when this will be done.

Sir E. Boyle

It is for the local education authority in the first instance to consider whether more school places are required in the area. I understand that all the children from the Woodhouse Estate can be accommodated in existing schools which are within the statutory walking distance of two miles for pupils under eight years of age.

Sir S. Storey

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these schools are one-and-a-half miles away from this estate and that that involves journeys over heavily trafficked roads? Is he also aware that there are 347 children under 5 years of age on the estate and that the birthrate is rising? Will he, therefore, consider at an early date making arrangements to provide an infants school on the estate and, until such time as a school is provided, arrange for adequate transport to be made available with adequate supervision?

Sir E. Boyle

I know the concern felt about this matter in the area. I have looked into this case carefully but it sometimes happens that children living on new estates must attend older schools until such time as a new school can he fitted into the school building programme. We must give priority to the provision of new schools in places where there are no schools and where children might otherwise be out of school altogether. I am told that the authority concerned is watching the situation closely and is looking for a site for a new school to serve the Woodhouse Estate when numbers justify it.