HL Deb 19 March 1979 vol 399 cc992-3WA

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What they are doing to discourage the growing demand among Christian and non-Christian communities for more denominational schools.

The MINISTER of STATE, DEPARTMENT of EDUCATION and SCIENCE (Lord Donaldson of Kingsbridge)

. The wording of the Question carries the implication that Her Majesty's Government ought to be discouraging a demand for more denominational schools. There are no plans to adopt such a policy. It is open to anybody to propose the establishment of a maintained voluntary school whether or not it has religious affiliations, and Section 13 of the Education Act 1944, as amended, sets out the procedure to be followed.

Each proposal is considered on its merits and my right honourable friend the Secretary of State makes a decision only after considering all the relevant facts, including any objections there may be from local people. She must also be satisfied that there is both a general need for more places in the area as well as sufficient unsatisfied denominational demand to justify the establishment of a new aided school.