HC Deb 10 March 1981 vol 1000 c749
14. Mr. Palmer

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what steps he is taking in consultation with the Avon education committee to bring about the end of selective education in the Bristol north central area by the combination of Cotham grammar school and Fairfield grammar school as one comprehensive school on a split site basis.

Dr. Boyson

None, Sir. It is for the Avon local education authority to decide whether it wishes to retain or change the organisation of secondary education in the Bristol north central area and, if necessary, to make proposals under section 12 of the Education Act 1980.

Mr. Palmer

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that Bristol was a pioneer in comprehensive education, that the anomaly has existed or a long time, that it is greatly disliked by many parents in the area and that the old Bristol education authority would have done away with it long ago? Should not Avon take action?

Dr. Boyson

Anomalies are part of a free society. The democratically elected education authority in Bristol is Avon. If the authority wished to change the system it could bring forward proposals. It clearly does not wish to do so.

Mr. Waldegrave

Is my hon. Friend aware that many people in Bristol are of the opinion that the only thing worse than the present situation would be a botched-up, split site, comprehensive school?

Dr. Boyson

I agree entirely. When I was privileged to visit my hon. Friend's constituency I consulted people in Bristol. It is clear that my hon. Friend knows exactly what is happening there.