§ Mr. Robert McCartney
To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate she has made of the cost of withdrawal of funding to preparatory schools for the primary school sector; and if she will make a statement. 
§ Mr. Worthington
I announced on 29 January that the subsidy paid towards the teaching costs of pupils attending preparatory departments of grammar schools would be reduced from 40% to 30% with effect from September 1998. This is expected to save around £250,000 to help improve standards elsewhere in the education sector.
It is estimated that this change will mean on average an increase of about 8% on the existing level of parental contributions if a school decides to pass on to parents the full effect of the reduced subsidy.