HC Deb 16 May 1978 vol 950 cc234-5
16. Mr. Nicholas Winterton

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent discussions she has had with representatives of Cheshire County Council concerning the reorganisation of secondary education in Cheshire.

Miss Margaret Jackson

My right hon. Friend has had none, but I have recently had a meeting with representatives of Cheshire County Council concerning the reorganisation of secondary education in Crewe.

Mr. Winterton

I am grateful to the Under-Secretary of State for that reply. Is she aware that many of my constituents whose children go to Crewe Grammar School for Boys are very pleased that she has turned down the county's proposals to establish a tertiary college in Crewe, which would have meant that at the age of 16 pupils would have had to transfer from a grammar school, interrupt their education and go to a tertiary college?

Will the hon. Lady accept that uncertainty still exists about what will happen in the future in Crewe, and will she give an assurance to the House that the children who start selective education at Crewe Grammar School for Boys will be enabled to go through until the age of 18 to complete their education at that school?

Miss Jackson

The hon. Gentleman will know the implications of the decision we have taken on the scheme in Crewe, and it is my understanding that all local opinion in Crewe was united in wishing for the original scheme put forward by Cheshire County Council rather than this new scheme put forward at such a late day.

Mr. Flannery

Will my hon. Friend accept from me that, where anyone's constituents have the chance to send their children to a grammar school, far more of those constituents do not have the chance to send theirs to a grammar school? Will she accept, therefore, that the sooner we do not have Crewe Grammar School and other grammar schools, and the sooner we have comprehensive education all over the country, the more democratic will education be for every child?

Miss Jackson

I entirely accept that, and we are working towards that end.

Mr. St. John-Stevas

On behalf of my hon. Friends and myself, may I ask the hon. Lady whether the activities of herself, her Department and the Secretary of State would not be better directed to improving existing comprehensive schools rather than destroying grammar schools of proven worth?

Miss Jackson

We are spending our time not only on seeing good comprehensive schemes brought into being but on improving all schools that currently exist.

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