§ Mr. Pawsey
asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will make a statement on his policy towards the retention of village schools in the context of public expenditure economies.
§ Dr. Boyson
My right hon. and learned Friend recognises the important social role that schools can play in rural communities. At the same time it is important to consider both the balance of educational advantage for the pupils concerned as school rolls fall and the need to use scarce educational resources as efficiently as possible. It is for local education authorities to consider the future of individual schools in the light of their overall provision and, where they judge appropriate, to make proposals under sections 12 to 16 of the Education Act 1980. Where a proposal falls to my right hon. and learned Friend for decision he will only approve the proposal if he is satisfied that it would be in the educational interest of the children concerned.