HC Deb 03 May 1994 vol 242 cc585-6
13. Mr. Llwyd

To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will make a statement on the Government's current policies with regard to the retention of sixth forms in schools.

Mr. Patten

Wherever possible, we want young people to be able to choose whether to continue their studies in a school sixth form or a college. Where there is demand, therefore, I hope that grant-maintained—[Interruption.] It is clearly a popular policy, Madam Speaker. I hope that grant-maintained and voluntary schools and local education authorities will come forward with high-quality proposals in order to add to diversity in choice.

Mr. Llwyd

Does the Minister agree that, welcome as they are, sixth form colleges are not the be all and end all? Where there are secondary schools without sixth forms should not they be allowed to develop them in order to enhance the level and standard of education and, very importantly, the calibre of teachers coming to those schools?

Mr. Patten

I understand that the hon. Gentleman has a particular case in mind at Bala in his constituency. My writ does not run over Offa's dyke, but I understand that the parents of students at that school will shortly begin a ballot about grant-maintained status. I hope that the hon. Gentleman and members of his party will be out there campaigning with the parents to make sure that that happens.