HC Deb 11 June 1980 vol 986 cc532-3
3. Mr. Ancram

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what representations he has received from Lothian regional council in response to his consultative document on parental choice in education.

The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland (Mr. Alexander Fletcher)

Lothian regional council's reaction was that is was, in principle, totally opposed to the parents' charter on the ground that it was an attack on the concept of comprehensive education. I reject that imputation. I fail to see how the concept of comprehensive education in Lothian region would be threatened by the granting of reasonable applications from parents for the school of their choice.

Mr. Ancram

I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Is he aware that the Lothian region education authority is still turning down reasonable applications for transfer to schools in which places are available? Is not this authority's attitude intolerable, especially as it is now playing cynical politics with the prospects and lives of young children?

Mr. Fletcher

There is ample evidence that Lothian region disregards the preference of parents when appeals are made about transfers. Despite the fact that under the Education (Scotland) Act 1962, it is required to see that children are educated in accordance with the wishes of their parents, the authority makes little effort to comply with that legislation.