HC Deb 04 February 1971 vol 810 cc1893-4
14. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what was the cost of financial subventions from all public funds to grant-aided secondary independent schools in 1970–71; and whether any increase is contemplated in 1971–72.

Mrs. Thatcher

In 1970–71 the Exchequer grant to the direct-grant secondary schools in England and Wales is expected to be £6.4 million and fees from local education authorities of the order of £10 million. The level of Exchequer grant for 1971–72 has not yet been settled.

Sir G. Nabarro

Would not my right hon. Friend agree that those figures denote continued support for this system generally and in principle? Will she reassure the House that she intends no change in the arrangements for grant-aided secondary education in the early future?

Mrs. Thatcher

In the early future, no change. In the more distant future I hope to receive representations from the Direct Grant Committee about how further we can help it. I think that it is important that these schools continue, because for a number of parents they are the middle way between the wholly independent system and the wholly State system.

Mr. Edward Short

Would the right hon. Lady care to elaborate the statement she made at the Conservative Party conference that if a local authority did not take up its places she would find ways of assisting these schools directly, that is, by-passing the local authority?

Mrs. Thatcher

That could already be done under the provisions which the right hon. Gentleman left.