HC Deb 05 July 2000 vol 353 cc194-5W
Mr. David Taylor

To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Employment what measures he has taken to enhance the role of rural schools within their local communities. [127919]

Ms Estelle Morris

Our guidance on the reorganisation of schools makes it clear that there should be a presumption against the closure of rural schools, and we are encouraging community use of school facilities. Our recent booklet "Raising Standards: Opening Doors" encourages imaginative approaches to community use of schools, and a manual is being developed to support schools in their work with the community. We recently introduced a new Standards Fund grant for small schools to help reduce the administrative burden on heads and teachers, and from September an additional Small School Support Fund will encourage small schools to consider and pilot new ways of working with others.