HC Deb 18 March 1965 vol 708 cc1445-6
1. Mr. Shepherd

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps have been taken in respect of the design of new school buildings to facilitate outside use.

70. Mr. Solomons

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what new building methods and designs for schools are being introduced to facilitate greater use of the buildings and grounds by outside bodies.

71. Mr. Newens

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what progress has been made in school design to increase and facilitate the use of schools and their grounds by adult and youth organisations.

The Minister of State for Education and Science (Mr. R. E. Prentice)

The advice of the Department's Architects and Building Branch is always available to education authorities who wish to design schools with wider purposes in mind, such as the incorporation of an evening institute, youth club or adult education centre.

Mr. Shepherd

Is this really good enough? Is not there a reluctance on the part of local authorities to design these dual-purpose schools, sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for bad? In view of the high cost of this capital asset, ought not more effort be made to see that schools are built so that they can be used more advantageously?

Mr. Prentice

A circular was issued jointly by the Department and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government in August last year encouraging greater use of projects of this kind and offering the co-operation of the Department in organising this, and also on the architectural side. We think that an improvement is taking place. In the next two years, 160 secondary school projects are included in the building programmes, which will incorporate other features for further education, youth centres, and so on. This is something that my right hon. Friend will be wanting to stimulate in every way.

Mr. John Hall

Is it not the case that in some areas, where there is a need for swimming pools, the need could sometimes be met by making available swimming pools in the grounds of schools? Would this be a possibility?

Mr. Prentice

I have this matter under consideration at present. There is a great deal in the point made by the hon. Member.