HC Deb 13 April 1972 vol 834 cc1422-3
20. Mr. Rost

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she has now examined the objections lodged against the proposed reorganisation of secondary education in the Sector "B" area of Derby Borough; and what plans she has for advancing the timetable to build a new secondary school to meet the demand in the Melbourne, Aston-on-Trent, Weston-on-Trent, and surrounding areas of South Derbyshire.

Mr. van Straubenzee

The Department is examining the statutory proposals for Sector "B" together with those for Sector "C" to which there have been objections. An instalment of a new secondary school at Chellaston has been included in the 1972–73 preliminary list.

Mr. Rost

Is my hon. Friend aware that that reply will be most welcome to children in my constituency? I thank my hon. Friend for it. Is he aware, further, that if that new school is not built, children in South Derbyshire will have to take a selective examination to enter a non-selective system and that that is why the building of this new school and the priority which the Minister is giving to it will be very warmly welcomed in my constituency?

Mr. van Straubenzee

I am obliged to my hon. Friend. It was for that reason, and for others, that it was included in the preliminary list.

Mr. Whitehead

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that his Department's failure to give any specific authorisation so far to Sector "B" proposals, and incidentally to give any adequate reply to letters from me and other hon. Members with constituencies in Derby, is being interpreted by teachers and parents as a sabotaging of the comprehensive scheme and as an indication that the Department is willing to wound but afraid to strike.

Mr. van Straubenzee

I cannot be responsible for the interpretations that parents, assisted by the hon. Gentleman, may be making. My right hon. Friend has a statutory responsibility, and it would be wrong for me to comment on the merits of the scheme while they are under her consideration.