HC Deb 13 March 1973 vol 852 cc1102-3
8. Mr. Dykes

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether she will now announce her decision regarding Harrow Council's submissions on secondary reorganisation.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

This is a very complex scheme involving 72 schools Furthermore, some 34,000 objections have been received. My right hon. Friend hopes to announce her decision by Easter.

Mr. Dykes

I appreciate that reply and the setting of a target date for the announcement. Does not my hon. Friend agree that the continued delay, which is somewhat longer than many people were expecting, has caused grave difficulties for the boroughs in reaching decisions because much forward planning needs to be done for the autumn term?

Mr. St. John-Stevas

I cannot accept that there have been unjustified delays in this case. The detailed consideration of these very complex proposals required additional information from the local education authority. The Department's officers also visited the authority's area. We had to consider the 34,000 objections. My hon. Friend will agree that the most important thing is not so much a swift decision as a right decision in this case.