HL Deb 28 April 1982 vol 429 cc866-7

2.45 p.m.

The Earl of Kimberley

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will obtain from ILEA confirmation of the fact that the entire premises of Kingsley School, Glebe Place, Chelsea, is used for educational purposes by young Libyan children.

Lord Elton

My Lords, the Department of Education and Science is in contact with the proprietors of the school now in these premises about its registration as an independent school. That registration will involve an inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Schools covering both the premises used and the education provided.

The Earl of Kimberley

My Lords, while thanking my noble friend for that Answer, may I ask whether he can confirm that the building does not have diplomatic immunity? Can he also confirm that, when it is inspected, every single room on the premises will be inspected so that there is no possible question of subversive activities going on there? Finally, can he please confirm that, if the school is going to be inspected regularly, it is not warned when those inspections are going to take place?

Lord Elton

My Lords, I can confirm that the premises are not an embassy. As to the inspection by Her Majesty's Inspectorate which is necessary for the registration of the school, that will be of the premises of the school and will be to establish whether the accommodation and the teaching are fit enough to make it an effective school. There will also, of course, be an inspection by the people responsible for fire precautions. I understand that part of the premises is used for residential purposes for which there is planning permission. If there were a change of use, it would of course be necessary to get planning permission for the change.

Baroness David

My Lords, as ILEA is mentioned in the Question, will the Minister agree that ILEA behaved absolutely properly in following Government guidelines in the sale of a redundant school and did everything that it should do and nothing that it should not do?

Lord Elton

My Lords, I think that I am happy to give that sweeping nihil obstat. What I can say is that the authority sold the property to a property development company and it was then re-sold. So far as I know, both sales were entirely proper. ILEA has no standing in the matter now because the responsible authority for independent schools is not the local education authority but the Department of Education and Science, which of course is the department which fields the inspectorate which will inspect the school.

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