HC Deb 23 April 1991 vol 189 cc887-8
4. Mr. Cryer

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the amount of grant paid in 1990 and 1991 to the most recent practicable date to the city technology college in Bradford.

The Secretary of State for Education and Science (Mr. Kenneth Clarke)

Total grant aid to the Bradford CTC was £2.9 million in the 1989–90 financial year. For the 1990–91 financial year, the total grant was £4.7 million.

Mr. Cryer

Is not it outrageous that those sums were paid to an elitist private school which is needlessly duplicating the local authority provision, when the total amount of capital expenditure for the whole of the Bradford local education authority in the current year is about £9 million? Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that there are expanding rolls in Bradford and that at least £30 million is needed to repair many of Bradford's crumbling schools, to provide permanent extensions and to replace the more than 500 temporary classrooms that are now in use? Are not the Government's priorities typified by J. K. Galbraith's phrase "private affluence and public squalor"?

Mr. Clarke

I have never heard such nonsense. Capital allocations to local government this year have been increased ahead of inflation. Bradford receives an allocation of £9.4 million for its schools and that sum has not been affected by the further sum that has gone into Bradford to invest in its splendid new city technology college. It is an essential part of effective inner city policy that the extra money provided should not just be spread over every deprived borough in the country, allowing each to carry on doing a little more of what was being done already, but should be invested. The Bradford CTC is a spectacular example of what can be done to provide opportunities for children of all abilities from deprived parts of Bradford, to raise expectations and to bring about new good practice in the education system of Bradford. The subscriptions of parents and the opportunities, which people are seeking, to teach and to be taught in Bradford show that this is a valuable new asset to the city for the education of people from deprived backgrounds that would not have come about without the CTCs.

Sir Marcus Fox

Is my right hon. and learned Friend aware that the Bradford CTC is proving extremely popular with teachers and pupils, that there are more than 1,000 applications for 12 teaching posts, and that this year, 660 students applied for 250 places? Is not that proof of the college's success, and is not that what the hon. Member for Bradford, South (Mr. Cryer) detests?

Mr. Clarke

I am grateful to my hon. Friend. Far more parents want to send their children to city technology colleges than there are places for them. There are also far more children waiting to be taught in them than can be admitted, and the teaching posts are hugely popular and sought after. I know from meeting people who are already teaching in the CTCs of their enthusiasm for, and commitment to, new methods of delivering high technology education, and that is one of the more exciting aspects that I encounter in the course of my job. The opposition of the Labour party to CTCs is unbelievably mean minded and small minded. Its view appears to be that the education system of Bradford should not enjoy a valuable innovation of this kind until every other school can be exactly the same.

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