HC Deb 11 July 1968 vol 768 c723
24. Mr. Simon Mahon

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is aware of the need for secondary school reorganisation in the county borough of Bootle in the county and voluntary spheres; and, in view of the financial burden to be borne under such reorganisation by the voluntary bodies, if, in the interests of equal educational opportunity for every child, he will seek to provide additional financial aid to voluntary bodies engaged in making such extra educational provision as reorganisation demands.

The Minister of State, Department of Education and Science (Miss Alice Bacon)

The costs arising from secondary reorganisation were among the factors taken into account by the Government and the religious bodies in negotiating the grant settlement now embodied in the Education Act, 1967, and I cannot provide extra aid.

Mr. Mahon

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in Bootle and other places on Merseyside the child population in the voluntary schools is 54 per cent. and those attending county schools 46 per cent. of the total child population? This is an intolerable burden. Would she consider the matter again?

Miss Bacon

My hon. Friend made a speech during the passage of the 1967 Act, and he knows as well as I do that under that Act it would be impossible for me to exceed the 80 per cent. grant provided for on that occasion. I look forward to receiving the Bootle secondary reorganisation plans for both the county and the voluntary schools.