§ Mr. Maclean
To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment if he will make a statement on his policy towards the provision of school transport to Roman Catholic schools for children in rural areas. 
§ Mr. Charles Clarke
Local Education Authorities must by law have regard to the wishes of Roman Catholic parents for their children to attend Roman Catholic schools, including in rural areas. Where a school is beyond the statutory walking distance, but is not the nearest suitable school, authorities have discretion whether to provide free transport. In exercising that discretion they must consider each request seriously. The Department is monitoring carefully the provision of denominational transport in local education authorities in England.