HC Deb 19 January 1967 vol 739 cc627-8
13. Mr Marquand

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many schools in the country do not yet conform to the principles laid down in paragraph 8 of his Department's Circular 7/65 on the Education of Immigrants; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Denis Howell

In January, 1966, there were 313 schools in which immigrants formed more than one-third of the total roll. It is for the local education authorities to consider what might be done to reduce the proportion of immigrants in these schools. My information is that the majority of authorities agree that it is desirable to impose some limits on the proportion of immigrant children in a school and are seeking to achieve this in various ways.

Mr. Marquand

Is my hon. Friend aware that that is still a rather depressing figure, and can he say what steps he is taking to speed local authorities on?

Mr. Howell

I will send my hon. Friend a copy of the circular that we sent out. This is essentially a matter for the local authorities themselves, but we have had discussions and I should like to embark on further discussions with some of the authorities with which the problem is greatest. We hope very much that these local authorities will see the sense of dispersing if we are to provide integrated schools, which I am sure is the object of all of us.

Mr. John Hall

Will the hon. Gentleman agree that carrying out effectively the recommendations of the Ministry imposes considerable additional cost on the local authority concerned? Is he considering ways and means by which local authorities can be helped to meet the cost?

Mr. Howell

This is a consideration that we have borne in mind, but I believe that dispersal can be carried out in many ways and best at the point of entry of the child into the school, and in those cases it is not necessarily costly.

Sir E. Boyle

Has not the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Marquand) a real point here in calling attention to the relatively small response of local authorities? Where there are disagreements, ought not these to be argued out at the Ministry so that people know what the policy is and we have a definite line on the subject?

Mr. Howell

We know what the policy is. I agree that it is a very important point, which is why I am about to embark on a new series of discussions with the appropriate authorities.