HC Deb 09 May 1968 vol 764 cc604-5
22. Mr. Brian Parkyn

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he has now received the new plan for Bedfordshire County Council for the reorganisation of secondary education on non-selective comprehensive lines; and whether he has approved this plan.

Mr. Edward Short

I have recently received from the local education authority the further information which was requested last autumn. I hope to reach a decision on the plan shortly.

Mr. Parkyn

In considering this plan, would my right hon. Friend bear in mind that many Bedfordshire people believe that it will be possible to have a fully comprehensive and non-selective school system only if the two direct grant schools of the Harpur Trust are transferred to the local education authority?

Mr. Short

I understand that the local authority has now had consultations with the Harpur Trust. The information given to us by the authority is one of the factors which we shall be taking into account in reaching a decision.

Sir E. Boyle

Would the right hon. Gentleman answer two questions? First, would ha agree that we very much hope that the relationship with the direct grant schools will be decided by negotiation? Secondly, is it not a fact that this plan is based on middle schools and assumes the money for the raising of the school leaving age? In view of the postponement of the raising of the school leaving age, must not this plan also be subject to some postponement?

Mr. Short

We have asked the local authority for further information. The authority has had discussions with the Harpur Trust in Bedfordshire and, as I say, this is one of the factors which we shall be taking into account in reaching a decision on the matter.

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