HC Deb 11 May 1972 vol 836 cc1530-1
5. Mr. David Clark

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what advice she has given to local education authorities about the co-ordination of educational activities prior to the transference of educational services under the proposed local government reorganisation; and if she will make a statement.

Mrs. Thatcher

Until the Local Government Bill has been enacted no official advice will be given. Informal advice is being given by the Department and the inspectorate when requested. Local education authorities are aware of the problems and are taking steps to prepare for the changes.

Mr. Clark

Does the Minister realise that many parents will be disappointed with her reply? Does she not appreciate that there is considerable disquiet among parents about the future of their children in case they suffer due to the administrative changeover? Does she realise that this is especially relevant at certain levels since there is a feeling in some areas that one might see the reintroduction of the 11-plus?

Mrs. Thatcher

It would be wrong for me to send out a circular until the Bill had been through this House and the other place—in other words, until the legislation has been properly enacted. We still have a further stage to go through in this House and, one never knows, there may even be changes in the other place. It would be advisable to wait for official advice until the process is complete. In the meantime, if unofficial advice is required it will be given. Local education authorities are well aware of the problems and are not being idle in taking steps towards their solution.

Captain W. Elliot

Will my right hon. Friend ensure that where the new boundary isolates a school from the previous school population, it will not be an obstacle to children crossing the boundary?

Mrs. Thatcher

I gladly give the assurance that the boundary will not be an obstacle, any more than the present boundary is an obstacle to a young person going to a school on the other side of that boundary if both local education authorities agree.