§ Mr. Hawkins
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if she will make a statement about Hackney Downs school. 
§ Mr. Robin Squire
Hackney Downs school was inspected and found to be failing to provide an acceptable standard of education in August 1994. Hackney education authority then announced its intention to publish notices to cease to maintain the school from the end of July 1995. However, the authority voted at a full council meeting on 28 June 1995, against the professional advice of its officers, to withdraw these notices.
The resulting uncertainty has further weakened the school's position. The last Ofsted monitoring report noted that, although there had been some progress, GCSE results remained well below local and national levels, the standards achieved in lessons were inconsistent, pupil attendance was poor and a significant number of pupils displayed an unsatisfactory attitude to work. Meanwhile, pupil numbers have fallen to below 250.
In these circumstances, my right hon. Friend is concerned that the LEA and governors may not be able to implement their action plans effectively. She has, therefore, today sent a letter to the director of education of Hackney education authority and the chairman of governors of Hackney Downs school stating that she is minded to create an education association and to transfer control of the school to that education association with effect from 1 September 1995.
My right hon. Friend has invited comments on this proposal by Monday 24 July and will announce their decision shortly after that.