asked the Secretary of State for Wales if, on the basis of submissions made to him, he is satisfied with provision made for the implementation of comprehensive secondary education in that part of the constituency of the hon. Member for Bedwellty not already operating such a system; and if he will make a statement.
We have allocated sufficient resources for the introduction of comprehensive education in the Sirhowy and Western Valley. It is for the local authority to decide when to implement the reorganisation.
Does my hon. Friend acknowledge that the local authority is very anxious to implement comprehensive education for sixth-form levels as soon as possible? Has an allocation been made in respect of the Cross Keys College of Further Education, which has become a junior college? Further, approximately how much is involved?
I have met members and representatives of the Gwent LEA. I know of their utmost commitment to the principle and ideal of comprehensive education. The LEA has been told that extensions to the Cross Keys College of Further Education are included in the further education building programme for 1975–76. That may well be worth about £270,000. It will certainly help to facilitate a comprehensive school system in the area.
Will the hon. Gentleman say to what extent the parents of the children involved will be consulted before reorganisation takes place?
Every parent elects a local authority councillor.
Now that my hon. Friend has had the opportunity of visiting the constituency of Pontypool and seeing the appalling physical conditions that exist in that area—conditions that present the implementation of comprehensive education, despite the declared desire of all the parents and of the local authority to implement it—will he give the House some idea what priorities may be given to ensure that resources are available to implement comprehensive education throughout my constituency?
We shall announce shortly the Gwent LEA's allocation for school building in 1975–76. The visit that I made with my hon. Friend to Gwent and to his constituency to see the conditions of the schools about which he has shown a deep concern for a long time is still a very clear memory. He will recall, however, that I said that these were times of financial stringency. Nor did I at that time make any promises except to say that the Government would make available the money to enable the Pontypool area to go fully comprehensive and to have schools really fit for all the children in my hon. Friend's constituency.