HC Deb 19 March 1985 vol 75 cc771-2
12. Mr. Loyden

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what representations have been made about secondary schools reorganisation by parents organisations.

Mr. Dunn

Such representations are received, in the form of statutory objections and deputations to the Department, in respect of most proposals to reorganise secondary education. The views so expressed are one of the factors that my right hon. Friend takes into account when deciding these proposals.

Mr. Loyden

Now that the Secretary of State has exercised his power to keep open Bluecoat school, will he also exercise his power to ensure that the necessary finance, assessed at some £3 million, is available to the local education authority to enable it to carry out the wishes of the Secretary of State?

Mr. Dunn

A letter along those lines has been sent to the Department of Education and Science by the chairman of the education committee. That letter is being considered.

Mr. Mark Carlisle

Does my hon. Friend agree that his right hon. Friend's welcome decision about Bluecoat school as a school of high excellence shows that the Government listen to parental views on these matters?

Mr. Dunn

My right hon. and learned Friend is right. When my right hon. Friend considers proposals on their individual merits, he must take into account not only the views of the parents but the proposers' case for the proposals and all other relevant circumstances, including his own policies.

Mr. Alton

While I welcome the decision to keep open Bluecoat school in my constituency, will the Minister now reconsider the decision to close state schools which are scheduled for closure this year in Liverpool? Will he accept that, when decisions of this kind are being made, it would be an improvement if the Ministers concerned could visit the schools affected by closure proposals?

Mr. Dunn

To take the latter point first, if I were to visit all the schools under consideration for closure by the Department I would spend no time in the House of Commons or at home in my constituency. Additionally, it is not possible for the Secretary of State to change an earlier decision. Those decisions are now legally binding on the local education authority unless fresh proposals are made by the local education authority itself.

Mr. Batiste

Can my hon. Friend assure parents in Leeds that he will give full weight to their representations opposing the closure of sixth forms in that city on grounds of viable numbers and proven worth?

Mr. Dunn

On behalf of my right hon. Friend, I shall be happy to consider all the views and points put to us on any proposals in any part of the land.