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List D Schools (Tayside)

Volume 884: debated on Wednesday 22 January 1975

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7.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what percentage of pupils in List D (approved) schools in the Tayside Region comes from other regions.

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply, although it is substantially different from the information which I was given in my region. Does he not agree that the transfer of large numbers of pupils away from the regions in which these schools are situated must cause considerable extra expense? Has he looked into the effects of a policy which has resulted in drawing away pupils from other areas, and does he think that the extra expense is justified?

It is the responsibility of the children's panels to decide where pupils in need of care and attention should go. My hon. Friend may be referring to the fact that expense is incurred by social workers going from one area to another to visit children within their responsibility. At present there are no reciprocal arrangements covering such activities. I shall consider putting these matters to the directors of social work departments to see whether unnecessary expense—and perhaps, more important, loss of valuable man hours—can be reduced.

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that the basic problem lies in the List D places? Will he say when he will be in a position to offer a sufficient number of places because, unless action is taken the Social Work (Scotland) Act cannot be properly implemented?

It is true that there is a shortage of places, but the waiting list has been reduced a little. I have not the precise figures, and I do not disguise the fact that there is a shortage of List D places, but, as I have emphasised time and again, List D places are not the only answer when children are in difficulty. All kinds of avenues should be explored, and local authorities are already doing so. They are examining other schemes, such as intermediate treatment schemes. There will be more List D school places, but I repeat that that is not the only way to tackle these problems.