HC Deb 20 December 1988 vol 144 cc277-8
11. Ms. Ruddock

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what recent discussions he has regarding the establishment of a city technology college on the site of the Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham boys and girl schools in Deptford.

Mr. Butcher

None, but the governors have sought technical advice from my officials on matters relating to various options for the schools' future. I understand that they are currently consulting parents about these options.

Ms. Ruddock

Does the Minister not agree, however, that the consultation process that was concluded last week was unfair, in that it promoted the CTC option at the expense of all others at a time when Lewisham council is still in the process of working out its own education policies, as required by the Department? Will he support the parents who are asking for an extension of the consultation period?

Mr. Butcher

The consultation process is a matter for the Government and the parents. We are prepared to trust parents to exercise their democratic rights. It is entirely a matter for the parents as a whole to come to a decision, which we will then consider.

Mr. John Hunt

Is my hon. Friend aware that I have served as a member of this governing body for more than 30 years and that at a meeting of the inner London education authority this very afternoon it is threatening to remove me and the only other Conservative governor simply because we had the temerity to support the CTC proposal? Will my hon. Friend please condemn this attempt at intimidation and recognise that it is an attempt to brainwash and gerrymander the governing body?

Mr. Butcher

I hope that Opposition Members will also condemn some of the things that have been happening at ILEA's behest, apart from the proposed sacking of my hon. Friend from the governing body. As I said earlier, we trust the democratically arrived at views of the parents. They can come to their own conclusion about the treatment meted out to my hon. Friend.