HC Deb 19 November 1970 vol 806 c1402
2. Mr. Armstrong

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what proposals she has for upholding the freedom of local education authorities to choose whether or not to take up places in direct-grant schools; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Thatcher

The Government value the contributions that the direct-grant schools make to the public system of education and hope that it will continue.

Mr. Armstrong

Is the Secretary of State aware that she has constantly stated that local authorities know best what is right for their own areas, and will she give a guarantee that they will continue to have full autonomy? Secondly, is she aware that the country will regard it as a perversion of priorities if primary school milk is withdrawn and public money is spent on selective education for the privileged few?

Mrs. Thatcher

Local education authorities have a right to take up a certain proportion of places at the direct-grant schools if they so wish. I am not disturbing that right in any way.