HC Deb 23 June 1971 vol 819 cc1413-4
22. Mr. William Hamilton

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a further statement on the future of Corsbie Hall School in Fife.

Mr. Edward Taylor

When Her Majesty's Inspectors visited this school at the beginning of June they found that substantial progress had been made. Most of the physical improvements suggested earlier in the year have now been completed. There are still some weaknesses in staffing however. My right hon. Friend proposes therefore to withhold final registration for the present. He will have the school inspected again in three months' time.

Mr. Hamilton

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that that is the most disgraceful reply I have ever heard in the House? Does he not realise that the reply which I received from the Secretary of State for Education in regard to English mentally retarded children at this school was that they were being withdrawn at her direction because of adverse reports by inspectors in the Scottish Education Department? Is not the implication of the hon. Gentleman's reply that he is satisfied, as is his Department, to allow mentally retarded Scottish children to stay in a school which has been declared inadequate by the English Minister responsible for these matters?

Mr. Taylor

The hon. Gentleman is putting words into the mouths of Ministers. His remarks were uncalled for. My answer shows the care that we are taking on these matters. Furthermore, my right hon. Friend will be reviewing the position in the light of the latest reports by my inspectors. We are concerned to see that the arrangements for the education and care of pupils at present in this school are satisfactory, but our responsibilities in the matter are different from those in England. In Scotland it is the duty of the education authority concerned to satisfy itself that a school is suitable for the needs of the child. I have no power to approve or disapprove of the placing of children in a school.

Mr. Hamilton

In view of the unsatisfactory, and indeed shameful, nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall seek to raise this matter on the Adjournment at the earliest possible moment.