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Volume 531: debated on Thursday 29 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Education how far the county borough of Gateshead was permitted to select the type of schools to be built in its area in its latest building programme.

The Gateshead local education authority listed three secondary schools in order of priority for inclusion in its 1955–56 school building programme. I included the first in its main programme and an instalment of the second in its reserve list, and deferred the third.

Is the right hon. Lady not aware that this local authority has pressed for permission to be allowed to build a Roman Catholic grammar school in Gateshead and that she gave me an assurance some time ago that she hoped to go as far as possible in increasing the number of grammar school places in Gateshead? Is this not the wrong way to carry out her assurances?

No, I do not think it is. I think it is right to increase the number of secondary school places. Work on the new school which was started in March, 1953, will provide for about 700 children. The authority already has under construction a secondary school which will double the number of places in the maintained grammar schools. The third school was, I know, for Roman Catholic children, but arrangements are being made for the authority to take up a number of places in Roman Catholic independent and direct-grant schools. At present, it has 29, but it is to increase that number this August.