§ 61. Mr. Judd
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what is the total number of places taken and paid for by local education authorities in England and Wales at independent schools; how many of the local education authorities taking such places have spare capacity within appropriate schools under their own control; what guidance he has given to local education authorities on methods of selection for their places at independent schools; and whether he will make a statement.
§ Miss Bacon
In January, 1969, 25,683 day and boarding places in independent schools (including 4,394 for children needing special educational treatment) were paid for in full by local education authorities in England and Wales. Authorities may pay the full fees of a pupil at an independent school without regard to parental income only where they are satisfied that there is a shortage of places in maintained schools to meet the pupils' needs. I have no information about spare capacity in schools maintained by those authorities which take up places at independent schools. The methods of selection for pupils to fill places taken up by authorities at independent schools is a matter within each authority's discretion.
§ Miss Bacon
It is for the authority to satisfy itself within the terms of subsection 2(a)(ii) of section 6 of the Education Act, 1953, that the places it pays for without regard to parental income are needed by reason of a shortage of places in maintained schools which are reasonably accessible to pupils and which would provide education suitable to their age, ability and aptitude. It is also for the Portsmouth L.E.A. to consider whether it should continue to take up so many places at independent schools if there are spare places in suitable maintained schools, and it is for it to determine which pupils shall be offered places at maintained or non-maintained schools.