HC Deb 12 July 1976 vol 915 c37W
Mr. Ian Lloyd

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science (1) if he will issue a circular to local education authorities advising them that school caretakers should no longer be permitted to deny access to school premises in furtherance of any dispute between them and local education authorities;

(2) which educational official has a statutory responsibility to ensure that schools remain open for the prescribed period;

(3) what steps he is taking to ensure that schools in the Havant area remain open to staff and pupils.

Miss Margaret Jackson

These are matters for the local education authorities, who are the employers, and the employees' representatives. Provision of education is a duty laid on the local education authority and it is, therefore, the authority as such which has responsibility for maintaining the educational service.

My right hon. Friend very much regrets the closure of schools in the Havant area as a result of a dispute over bonus payments between caretakers and the LEA. He understands that the normal disputes procedure is operating and that the dispute will be considered at a meeting of the Mid-Southern Provincial Council Disputes Committee on 12th July. He hopes that it will be brought to an end immediately after that meeting.