HC Deb 27 June 1968 vol 767 cc794-5
15. Mr. Biggs-Davison

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is now his policy towards local education authorities which have not abandoned 11-plus selection for secondary schooling; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. Edward Short

The Government's policy remains unchanged.

Mr. Biggs-Davison

Is the report correct that the Secretary of State cannot tolerate local education systems which do not move towards the abolition of selection? Was that speech correctly reported? If so, does the right hon. Gentleman intend to legislate?

Mr. Short

I said in a recent speech that the Government could not indefinitely tolerate areas making no move at all towards a comprehensive system, and that is the Government's policy. If the six areas continue to refuse to submit schemes, the Government will seriously have to consider legislation.

Mr. Christopher Price

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that he is following his predecessor's policies in not allowing any secondary building projects to those authorities which are refusing to go comprehensive?

Mr. Short

All the secondary building projects we approve are on the basis of comprehensive reorganisation.

Sir E. Boyle

At a time when the building programme for the current year has effectively been cut by about £30 million, is not it quite unreal to suppose that we can advance more rapidly in a comprehensive direction if we are to have educationally soundly based schemes?

Mr. Short

The total educational building programme this year is only very slightly less than last year's. There has been no large cut in the overall building programme. Local authorities got approvals for secondary building and improvements, and these must be used on the basis of comprehensive reorganisation.