§ Mr. Armstrong
My right hon. Friend has already announced a lump sum authorisation of £2,950,000 for major school building projects to meet basic need in Bedfordshire for the period 1st July 1974 to 30th June 1975. The authority also has an allocation of £875,000 minor works for the same period, including £40,000 allocated this week.
The authority submitted four proposals for projects at the Queen's Park Infant and Junior Schools in Bedford and at schools in Luton—Dunstable Road—and Caddington Slip End under the terms of Circular 10/74. These have now been considered and my Department wrote to the authority on 7th November informing it that the first three of these projects have been accepted for this limited programme.
Resources for 1975–76 and subsequent years have yet to be determined. I am, however, aware of the gowing school population in Bedfordshire and this will be taken into account when the allocations are made.
§ Mr. Skeet
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science what information he has on the number of children in the county of Bedfordshire who are being educated in substandard or temporary accommodation and on the degree of congestion being experienced in Bedfordshire schools through lack of new schools or slippages in the school building programme.
§ Mr. Armstrong
My Department does not collect information in this form. It is estimated, however, that approximately 7,000 children, 12 per cent. of pupils aged 5–11, are being educated in primary schools built before 1903. Information received from the former county of Bedford in 1973–74 indicated that there were in that year, within the former county only, some 11,000 places236W provided in temporary accommodation at primary schools—32 per cent. of the total—and just over 2,000 places at secondary schools—11 per cent. of the total.
My right hon. Friend appreciates that these figures indicate a degree of overcrowding in certain schools. In many cases this overcrowding is of a very temporary nature and will be relieved when reorganisation of the age ranges of the schools has been completed. The authority has in recent years received substantial allocations for school building.