HC Deb 15 December 1992 vol 216 cc283-4
6. Mr. David Atkinson

To ask the Secretary of State for Education what is his target for the number of primary schools to obtain grant-maintained status by the end of 1993.

The Secretary of State for Education (Mr. John Patten)

I hope that as many parents as possible will consider the potential benefits of self-governing status for their primary schools.

Mr. Atkinson

Is my right hon. Friend aware that some urban primary schools, having considered grant-maintained status, have decided against it because they are concerned about the future provision of their special needs and do not believe that grouping is the answer for them? Will he embark on a new information campaign aimed at the governors of all primary schools and secondary modern schools, telling them of the distinct advantages of grant-maintained status for their schools and the amazing results that have been achieved by those schools that have opted for grant-maintained status?

Mr. Patten

I am grateful for the opportunity to reassure my hon. Friend that more than two thirds of grant-maintained schools have increased their provision for special educational needs above the level previously provided directly by the local education authority. About 186 primary schools have balloted on whether to become grant maintained. In eight out of 10 cases—exactly the same figure for secondary schools—the result has been a resounding yes.

Mr. Barnes

When that petition for opting out takes place on the ballot, no restriction is placed on the lists of parents' names and the uses of those lists for commercial or other purposes. Should not that matter be examined? Should names be generally used for any purpose other than that for which they were given?

Mr. Patten

I am much more worried about the apparently illicit way in which some local education authorities have got lists of names from schools and used them to incite others to circulate intimidatory literature to stop schools from going grant-maintained. Needless to say, Derbyshire is in the lead.