Skip to main content

Secondary Schools (Improvement)

Volume 828: debated on Thursday 16 December 1971

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.


asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science how many financial requests she has now received from local education authorities for permission to start schemes of improvement or replacement of maintained secondary schools for the years 1972–73 and 1973–74; and what percentage of requests she has authorised for each year.

The information asked for in the first part of the Question cannot be provided without disproportionate expenditure of money and manpower. The only secondary school improvement or replacement projects which have been included in the programmes for 1972–74 are those where the main objective is the improvement of conditions in primary schools.

Did the right hon. Lady try to get extra resources for these primary or secondary schools, or did she welcome the opportunity that the cut-back gave to slow down the progress towards comprehensive secondary reorganisation?

I took the view that the conditions in many primary schools required even more urgent improvement than the conditions in secondary schools. In the first two years of the present Government's improvement programme, about three times as much money has been allocated in total than for the previous two years, the greater part going to primary schools.

Will my right hon. Friend continue to emphasise the primary school replacement programme—there are at least 90 primary schools in Derbyshire which were built in the last century—before she starts building new secondary schools, whether comprehensive or any other type?

I am well aware of the urgency of replacing a large number of primary schools and the programme has been welcomed. I should also like to do some secondary school improvement projects as well, but it is not possible except to the extent that I indicated in my answer.

Since the Secretary of State is cutting both primary and secondary school building programmes in 1973, could she not use some money here for the immediate improvement of secondary schools?

I am not cutting any school building programme at all. They are record programmes. There was a building programme for the raising of the school-leaving age, which will come to an end because it will have been completed. Apart from that, the combined basic need and improvement programmes show an increase over the previous year.