HC Deb 13 April 1972 vol 834 cc1419-20
17. Sir R. Thompson

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will now authorise the rebuilding of St. Giles' School for the Handicapped in Croydon as a school for deaf children.

Mrs. Thatcher

Proposals from the Croydon local education authority, which were not linked, for replacing St. Giles' School and for establishing a new school for the deaf are being considered in connection with the 1972–73 design list for special schools which will be announced in a month or so.

Sir R. Thompson

I thank my right hon. Friend for that moderately encouraging reply. May I ask her to put her personal weight behind a favourable decision? Is she aware that the provision for deaf children in the largest of the London boroughs is deficient and ought to be remedied, that many of the children spend a large part of their time going to and from other schools elsewhere, and that this scheme has the support of six London boroughs and would be an absolute winner, especially if it were sited in Croydon?

Mrs. Thatcher

I hope my hon. Friend might think that my weight might not be sufficient. In fact his authority has not yet told my Department that it wants to establish a new school for the deaf in St. Giles' School. He will be aware that schools for the deaf have to be carefully sited so that they are at the centre of a large catchment area. I shall carefully consider my hon. Friend's request with my mind, if not with my weight.