HC Deb 13 February 1973 vol 850 cc1133-4
26. Mr. Spearing

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the maximum period of transition she has permitted in a scheme to phase out separatist secondary education in favour of a comprehensive system of secondary education.

Mrs. Thatcher

I have no powers to prescribe time limits within which statutory proposals approved under Section 13 of the Education Act 1944, as amended, must be implemented.

Mr. Spearing

I thank the right hon. Lady for that information. Will she confirm that any application for a change which extends over a period of, say, 10 years will not be turned down purely on the ground of the length of time it takes to initiate? Does she agree that that is not necessarily a matter on which she should turn down a scheme which may come to her at any time?

Mrs. Thatcher

On the whole we have not been asked to give approval to schemes taking that length of time. What usually arises is the other way round, at what point of time approval lapses if no steps are taken to implement it, and that would be a matter for the courts.