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Proposed Secondary School, Maryport

Volume 499: debated on Thursday 24 April 1952

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asked the Minister of Education if she will reconsider her decision to defer the building of the proposed new secondary school at Maryport, Cumberland, in view of the special need to extend educational facilities in the area of West Cumberland.

No, Sir. Though desirable, this project is in my opinion less urgent than those included in the revised 1952–53 building programme.

In view of the difficulties of this area, of which I am sure the right hon. Lady is aware in view of the representations made, will she look at this matter again and reconsider it if the local authority makes further approaches?

Yes, but this building would be to relieve overcrowding and to permit re-organisation. It would not be for the first priority purpose, which is to provide places for the extra school population, and I am following the policy of my predecessor, laid down five years ago, that building should not be to relieve overcrowding and to permit re-organisation. I might think it was a pity that that decision was taken but now I feel, as I said in the circular on building, that I cannot now make the change, and I must continue the policy which was decided by the previous Government.

The right hon. Lady will recollect that if my right hon. Friend had been Minister this project would have gone ahead because, in a letter to the local authority, the right hon. Lady herself declares that she is unable to authorise the carrying on of this project.

I am unable to authorise it because I am carrying on the policy laid down by my predecessor that building should not at present be for the relief of overcrowding and to permit re-organisation. I should like not to carry on that policy for any length of time; I should like to be able to allow building to deal with overcrowding and to permit re-organisation, but at present I cannot. I shall do it as soon as I possibly can.

In view of the fact that this is the result of Circular 245, I give notice that I shall raise this matter on the Adjournment.