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War-Damaged Schools, Cardiff

Volume 466: debated on Thursday 23 June 1949

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asked the Minister of Education whether he is aware of the serious interference caused to secondary education in Cardiff by the present inadequate accommodation, especially in the Howard Gardens and the Canton High Schools, respectively; and what action he is taking with regard to the Cardiff Education Committee's estimates for these schools and for their 1949–50 building programme as a whole.

I am aware of the difficulties under which the Howard Gardens and Canton High Schools have been working, owing to war damage. The girls at Howard Gardens have now been moved into new premises. No progress has so far been made with the provision of new premises for the boys of Howard Gardens, or for the Canton Schools, owing partly to the more urgent need of new primary schools for housing estates, and partly to the slow rate at which plans have been forthcoming. The 1949 and 1950 building programmes have recently been discussed with representatives of the authority, with a view to securing more rapid progress, but I am not yet in a position to announce any definite decisions on the 1950 programme.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Howard Gardens School is a disgrace to the conditions in which, under a Socialist Government, education should be carried on, and that almost equal difficulties exist in the county area? Will he give an assurance that he has not told the Cardiff authority that they must not spend extra money for the provision of proper secondary education?

The problem so far as Cardiff and every other authority is concerned at the moment, in consideration of the 1950 programme, is the amount of work that has to be done to make provision for the children who will be going into the schools. That work has priority.

But is my right hon. Friend aware that the children who are already in the schools must not be allowed to remain in conditions that are a detriment to education? Will he take the necessary action to have the conditions improved?

I thought that the fact that I stated in my answer that the authority had been to see me in order that I could impress upon them this necessity was a sufficient answer to my hon. Friend.

Can my right hon. Friend say what the cost of building these schools or similar schools was in 1944, and what is the increase in the cost of schools at the present time?