HC Deb 04 February 1976 vol 904 cc614-5W
Mr. Moonman

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the comprehensive education plan for Essex approved by him which retains two grammar schools.

Mr. Newens

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on the approved comprehensive education scheme for Essex which retains two grammar schools.

Miss Joan Lestor

On 1st August 1975 the Essex Education Authority gave notice of proposals to reorganise four county secondary modern schools in Colchester—one as an 11–18 school and three as 11–16 schools. My right hon. Friend approved these on 26th January 1976.

My right hon. Friend is aware that there are two grammar schools in Colchester in respect of which no proposals for reorganisation have been submitted to him. The initiative for making such proposals rests, under present legislation, exclusively with the local authority.

In considering the proposals for reorganisation of the secondary modern schools he took into account, in particular, the effect which approval of these proposals would have on the complete reorganization of secondary education in the area. He considered that the proposals as approved would permit the two grammar schools to be integrated effectively into the comprehensive system at a later date as well as representing an improvement in educational opportunities for many pupils.

My right hon. Friend will be prepared if necessary, after the enactment of the Education Bill now before the House, to use his powers under that Bill to require proposals for the completion of reorganisation in Colchester. He hopes, however, that the Essex authority will see the advantage in anticipating any such action on his part.

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