§ 48. Mr. Boston
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many pupils in the Faversham constituency and the county of Kent, respectively, who qualified at this year's 11-plus examination for a grammar school place and whose parents have expressed a preference for a grammar school place, have not been granted a place in a grammar school.
§ Mr. Hogg
In the North-East Kent Division which includes the Faversham constituency 246 pupils who qualified this year for selective education have taken up places offered by the local education authority. 136 have been offered places in grammar schools and 110 in technical schools. Of the 110, 78 had expressed a preference for a grammar school. In Kent as a whole, of 5,678 pupils who qualified and have taken up places, 3,611 have been offered places in grammar schools and 2,067 in technical schools. Of the 2,067, 1,237 had expressed a preference for a grammar school.
§ 59. Sir P. Agnew
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he is aware that a local education authority with insufficient grammar 367W school places in its own area has, when applying a means test to parents who wish to send their eleven-plus qualified child to an independent denominational school, fixed the figure of £ 9 per week as against present national average manual earnings of £ 17 10s. 0d., for parental income above which parents have to pay a contribution, even in a case where the fees of the independent school concerned are substantially lower than those of the undenominational school to which the local education authority is prepared to send the child without a parental contribution; and if he will make inquiries with a view to establishing a more realistic income figure for those cases where a means test has to be applied for avoiding excessive extra expense to the local education authority.
§ 60. Mr. Dudley Smith
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he is aware of the moves by many local authorities to absorb grammar schools into a comprehensive system of education, often against the wishes of a majority of parents; and if he will take steps to prevent such action.
§ Mr. Hogg
My powers to intervene in these cases are governed by the terms of Section 13 and Section 68 of the Education Act, 1944. The principles upon which I exercise these powers I stated in answer to the hon. Member for Flint, East (Mrs. White) on 1st July during the Second Reading of the Education Bill [Lords]. I would certainly look carefully at any proposal to destroy an existing school with a successful record which was valued by parents. I encourage authorities to discuss schemes of all kinds with my Department and H.M. Inspectors as well as with the staffs of the schools concerned.