Mr. John D. Taylor
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many pupils attend preparatory departments at voluntary grammar schools; if these pupils are entitled to bus passes; what is the cost of these pupils to public funds; what are the estimated staff redundancy costs of the closure of these preparatory schools; what is the estimated additional cost to public funds of the transfer of these pupils to maintained and controlled primary schools; and if she will make a statement about the future of voluntary preparatory schools. 
§ Mr. Worthington
At October 1996, enrolments in the preparatory departments of voluntary grammar schools were 2,193. Pupils in these preparatory departments are not eligible for transport assistance. In 1996–97 grant aid to the preparatory departments of voluntary grammar schools totalled £1,307,380. The Department of Education is presently seeking the views of relevant schools on the implications of reducing or terminating public funding to them. Until those consultations have been concluded it is not possible to forecast possible redundancy costs or the additional costs, if any, resulting from preparatory department pupils transferring to primary schools.