HC Deb 26 June 1973 vol 858 cc1300-1
7. Mr. Golding

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she is yet able to approve the proposals for the reorganisation of secondary education in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

My right hon. Friend will give her decision as soon as possible on these proposals. The LEA withdrew two of its previous proposals in February of this year. The authority was informed of certain difficulties on 30th May and we are still awaiting a reply.

Mr. Golding

Is the Minister aware that there is grave anxiety in Newcastle-under-Lyme because of the delay, and is he further aware that this anxiety is particularly marked in respect of the Wolstanton-Watlands project which I understand was to have started this year and to have been completed by 1975? Is he also aware that £300,000 has been approved for the project and that if work does not get under way very quickly the unsatisfactory conditions in which teaching is taking place and has taken place for 20 years will have to continue?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

As the hon. Gentleman will know, there has been considerable local difficulty and conflict over the proposals. Owing to the withdrawal which I have mentioned, we have faced particular difficulties. But I am aware that the hon. Gentleman and the local authority are particularly anxious for a decision on the proposals affecting Wolstanton Grammar School, and if it is possible to consider those proposals separately my right hon. Friend will give her decision very soon.