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Bec Grammar School, Wandsworth

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 29 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Education why she has refused to permit the London County Council to proceed with its development plan for Bec Grammar School and secondary education in that area.

I would refer the hon. Member to the reply which I gave to the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. J. Johnson), on 15th July last.

Is the Minister aware that that answer means that she is the sole arbiter of what is educationally advantageous to children, that it means that she has the right to flout the decisions of local education authorities, and that in this she is behaving like a French minister of education and not a British Minister of Education?

I am rather surprised that the hon. Gentleman, who knows so much about the Education Act, 1944, did not look it up before making those remarks. If he will look at Section 13 he will see that although a local authority may propose closing or opening a school the responsibility for the decision is the Minister's. I am also surprised that the hon. Gentleman and other hon. Members opposite should talk of the flouting of the opinions of local authorities by Ministers, when in their own statement of their future policy, they say they will insist on comprehensive schools in all parts and tear up, I presume, more than 140 development plans.