HC Deb 23 July 1970 vol 804 cc731-2
10. Mr. St. John-Stevas

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will make a statement of policy on comprehensive schools.

Mrs. Thatcher

The Government's aim is to ensure that all pupils shall have full opportunities for secondary education suitable to their needs and abilities. Authorities will be freer to determine the shape of secondary provision in their areas.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I congratulate my right hon. Friend on sticking to her principles and her election pledges. What principle will operate if a local authority, contrary to the Ministry's opinion and advice, decides to impose universal comprehensive education in its area?

Mrs. Thatcher

The question will come to the Department under Section 13 of the 1944 Act and the Minister will then have to decide the question in the light of all the circumstances, including the objections received.

Mr. Walden

Are not we right in assuming that the Minister's policy is that there should be local freedom in this matter and that she will not impose what one hon. Member opposite called her advice in this matter but will allow local authorities to select as they see best?

Mrs. Thatcher

The policy is to restore the position under the 1944 Act. That was expressed in the debate on 8th July, when I spelt it out in detail.